Chicago Bears: Breaking Down Their Chances of a Playoff Appearance

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Chicago Bears: Breaking Down Their Chances of a Playoff Appearance
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With their 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday at Soldier Field, the Chicago Bears improved to 6-4 and are once again tied atop the NFC North with the Detroit Lions.

So what are their chances of actually making the playoffs? Do they have a shot at the division?

Well, it's still going to be an uphill battle for the division considering the Lions own the tiebreaker over the Bears, coupled with the fact that the Lions schedule isn't all that tough the rest of the way either.

But it's certainly not out of the question.

While the Lions' schedule is certainly not daunting, neither is the Bears'. The combined record of the Lions' remaining six opponents is 23-38 with only one of those teams, the Philadelphia Eagles at 6-5, carrying a winning record. Meanwhile, the Bears' remaining six opponents have a combined record of 26-35 with only the Eagles carrying a winning record.

Again, the key here is that the Lions swept the Bears this year, so essentially, the Bears have to finish at least one game better than Detroit to win the division. If they finish tied, the Lions will win it based on the sweep. So it's pretty simple. The Bears have to continue to win and get some help from other teams in order to win this division. 

In terms of a wild card berth, the chances are better but still tough. The Bears currently sit as the eighth seed in the NFC with only the top six seeds qualifying for the playoffs, but they're right in the hunt. The teams that they are chasing for the two wild-card spots at this point are the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals

 

The breakdown looks like this:

CURRENT NFC STANDINGS FOR 2013 NFL PLAYOFFS

 

The key numbers to look at here are the conference records, as they would be the deciding factor should the Bears end up in a tie with any of those teams. Currently, the Panthers look pretty strong at 6-2 in the conference, but the Bears are right there with the other two. 

In addition, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers are still in the hunt as well. Dallas could very well still win the NFC East, and if they do, the Eagles would then conceivably have a good shot at a wild-card spot. For Green Bay, the road is a little tougher, especially without the services of Aaron Rodgers, but with Green Bay, you can never count them out.

Here's the brutal reality: The Bears have five conference games remaining and really need to win them all, to be quite honest. With Carolina only having two losses in the conference and San Francisco only having three, the Bears really can't afford to lose another one. So no pressure, really. 

The Bears are essentially starting their playoffs right now. Every week is crucial, but the good news is that they do have a favorable schedule. They have some big matchups, including Dallas on Monday night at home and Philadelphia on the road, but again, those are certainly winnable games.

And though winning the division certainly seems like a longshot, it's still a possibility. While the Lions did sweep the Bears and own the tiebreaker, they're still the Lions. They have been known more for finding ways to miss the playoffs than to make them.

For the Bears, all that matters is this week, as they travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams. As the saying goes, they just have to take care of business on their end and not worry about what they can't control. And actually, with the Bears, it seems like that saying comes into play every November or December.

Here they are again battling for a playoff spot late in the season with not much margin for error. Every game is bigger than the last, and the season seemingly hinges on every play. 

However, Bears fans are used to this scenario by now and shouldn't be fazed at all.

So break out the Rolaids, and let's roll.

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