Jay Cutler Injury: Why It's Not the End of the Chicago Bears' Season
Despite the Chicago Bears' QB Jay Cutler's broken thumb—an injury that will most likely sideline him for the remainder of the season—the Bears' playoff hopes are not dead. Chicago still has an opportunity to continue their 2011-12 NFL regular-season success into the playoffs.
A playoff berth will not be the easiest thing for the Bears to accomplish, but a team effort can increase the Bears' chances, and it's certainly not out of the question.
Jay Cutler's broken thumb won't make this task easy for the Bears, but things are shaping up for the Bears to will their way into the postseason.
Remaining Schedule Isn't Too Difficult
The Bears have been playing great football over the last few weeks, and their five-game winning streak proves that. Chicago has six games left on their regular-season schedule, and those five games could be much worse.
The Bears are scheduled to play their next three games against AFC West opponents, then the Seattle Seahawks before traveling to Green Bay and Minnesota to close out the season.
Week 12, at Oakland Raiders
This Week 12 matchup would have been a lot easier for the Bears if it weren't in Oakland, since the Oakland faithful have been known to get a bit rowdy in the stands. While the Raiders aren't the best team, they have a solid run game with Michael Bush and Darren McFadden (when he returns), and the acquisition of Carson Palmer is looking like a good one.
The Bears can beat Oakland, but even with Jay Cutler, it would have been a tough task.
Week 13, vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Bears can very easily beat the Chiefs when they host them Week 13. The Chiefs have been without starting RB Jamaal Charles all season, and they recently lost QB Matt Cassel for the season.
Even without Jay Cutler, the Bears will be favorites against the Chiefs.
Week 14, at Denver Broncos
Whenever a team has Tim Tebow as their QB, they have a good chance of winning, and the Broncos have proven that to be true—winning four of five games this season with Tebow as their starter.
The Bears' defense can lead them to a win, and their offense can put up the necessary points against the Denver defense that's been getting better every week.
Week 15, vs. Seattle Seahawks
I don't care who the Bears' QB is, they should beat the Seahawks any day of the week.
Week 16, at Green Bay Packers
There are chances that this game will be a loss, but the Packers and Bears always play a tight game (no matter who's injured) because of the rivalry between these two teams.
Week 17, at Minnesota Vikings
The Bears will most likely be the favorites in this matchup, but being on the road will probably hurt the Bears. They can still win, but it won't be an easy task.
Devin Hester and Bears' Special Teams
For some reason, teams continue to kick the ball to Devin Hester. I don't know why, but they do.
Hester can carry the Bears to a win any week if teams continue to kick the ball to him, even without Jay Cutler leading the Bears' offense.
More often than not, Hester provides the Bears with great field positions that can lead to any amount of points, as long as he has the opportunity to return a kick or punt. Points will be taken however the Bears can get them, and Hester can set the Bears up with enough scoring opportunities to win a game.
Bears' Defense, Monsters of the Midway
The Bears' defense has looked great during the team's five-game winning streak, and it's going to have to look just as good, if not better, if the Bears want to extend their streak and make the playoffs without Jay Cutler.
Chicago's secondary has been playing better as the weeks go on, but they're going to have to understand that now is not the time to let up. Nothing is a guarantee for the Bears at this point, and they're going to have to earn everything they get for the remainder of the season.
The Bears will have to make everyone they play remember who the Monsters of the Midway are, and that you don't want to get in their way at a time like this.
Number of Weapons on Offense
Matt Forte has had an MVP-like season for the Chicago Bears, and the recent emergence of Earl Bennett has given the Bears another weapon on offense.
Roy Williams finally showed up in Week 11 against the San Diego Chargers, and he's going to have to continue to do so if Chicago's offense is going to produce enough points to escape each week with a win without their offensive leader, Jay Cutler.
Bennett, Forte and Williams, along with Marian Barber, are all going to have to prove to be offensive weapons with the absence of Jay Cutler if the Bears want to see the postseason.
Todd Collins Is Not Chicago's Backup QB
As all of you probably recall, Jay Cutler was hurt in the 2011 NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers and Todd Collins was his backup. Todd Collins' performance during that game was miserable.
Well, Todd Collins is no longer Cutler's backup, and Caleb Hanie has taken over those duties.
Hanie didn't have the best stat line in the NFC Championship Game, but he provided the Bears with a spark that Collins lacked, and the Bears competed the whole game.
Hanie will not be under as much fire as he was while being thrown into the NFC Championship Game, and he'll have plenty of time to prepare throughout the upcoming weeks in order to be a short-term solution for the Chicago Bears with Jay Cutler out.