As much as it hurts to hear, the ugly truth of the matter is that the Chicago Bears should be rooting for the green and yellow on Thanksgiving Day.
This Turkey Day’s matchup of the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions is the first meeting between the NFC North division rivals this season and it could not be any bigger with respect to importance to the Bears.
Part of this holiday’s festivities is a gut check with the Chicago hopes of winning the North. As the Packers (10-0) begin to flirt with perfection, the Bears (7-3) and Lions (7-3) are dead locked for second in the division and currently possess both NFC Wild Card spots.
The realization needs to be made that the division crown is all but won already. The race for the top Wild Card is on.
Since Chicago and Detroit split their head-to-head contests with each winning at home, the tiebreakers will be in effect for the Lions and Bears.
Chicago will need to jump ahead of the Lions one of these weeks, and what better week than this with a potential divisional and conference loss?
Chicago has a much better chance of making the playoffs via a Wild Card than they do coming back to leapfrog the Packers in the North.
If Detroit wins tomorrow, it makes the road to the No. 5 seed that much tougher for the Bears. Yes it would bring Green Bay back to the pack (no pun intended), but it helps Detroit more than it does Chicago.
Even if the Lions were to win tomorrow, Chicago would get another chance to jump the Lions in the standings. Consider the remaining schedules for each team. Chicago gets a cakewalk through the bad AFC West while Detroit has difficult NFC games left.
To be specific, Chicago goes to Oakland, home for Kansas City, at Denver, home against the Seahawks and wraps up on the road with the Packers and Vikings. The Lions go to New Orleans, host Minnesota, go to Oakland, welcome San Diego and then wrap up the season at Lambeau Field.
Even with Caleb Hanie at quarterback in replacement of the injured Jay Cutler, Chicago can easily win three or four of its remaining games. The Lions' stretch seems a bit more uphill.
If not this week, then very soon the Bears will jump ahead of the Lions with the remaining games left on the 2011 season schedule.
That’s not being said as an optimist close to the team, but rather as a realist with an objective point of view.
Brett Lyons is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials.
Follow Brett Lyons on Twitter @BrettLyons670.