The NFL playoff format only allows for six teams in each conference to make the playoffs, the top four being the division champions. The remaining two spots are left for the 12 teams who didn't win their division. That's 10 teams who will go home in the NFC before January 7.
Are the Bears one of those teams?
According to my predictions, I have the following teams winning their division:
Dallas, New Orleans, San Francisco and Green Bay.
Counting out the Rams, Buccaneers and Lions, who have virtually no chance of making the playoffs, that leaves nine NFC teams who will duke it out for two wild-card slots.
Included in that group New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Carolina, Atlanta, Seattle, Arizona, Minnesota and Chicago.
Of those nine teams, I only have three teams going over .500 (8-8 or better).
Minnesota, Atlanta, and Chicago
All three of those teams will be 10-6.
So who's the odd one out?
Neither Minnesota nor Chicago plays Atlanta this season, which leaves the Falcons playoffs hopes in the hands of their record against the NFC and the division. Atlanta plays against the Saints, Panthers and Buccaneers in the division. I feel like 2 of their 6 losses come against the division. That puts them at 4-2. Chicago will be 4-2 against the division, as will Minnesota. We're still tied three ways.
Next, who's the best against the NFC? Chicago will be 8-4 against the NFC while Minnesota (depending of course on a number of factors, Favre being the biggest) should be 8-4 as well. Atlanta? They'll be 7-5.
Atlanta is the odd-team out.
Final prediction: Bears make the playoffs as the 5th playoff seed.