The Chicago Bears were well on their way to racking up double-digit wins en route to a wild-card berth, but after devastating injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, the skidding Bears will fall off the radar to close out the season.
Sustaining back-to-back losses to the Raiders and Chiefs didn't cripple the Bears' playoff hopes, but after they fall victim to Tim Tebow and obtain their third consecutive loss, their playoff dreams will vanish.
The Bears lost their most important offensive weapon in Matt Forte and the notion that Marion Barber could fill the void proved to be nonsense when the Bears failed to produce more than three points against the Chiefs.
Their defense is dominant, but it's impossible to win without scoring. The Broncos have proven that they can hang in a defensive struggle and after winning five straight games, Denver has proven their "gimmicky" offense is for real.
Here's a look at the playoff picture and two teams who'll join the Bears in their misery.
| AFC |
*Current Division Leader
As you can see, the wild-card race in the AFC is overly competitive. The Steelers are all but locked into one spot and with four talented teams fighting over one spot, it's probably going to take 10 wins in order to snag that spot.
Chris Johnson has decided to show up, but it looks like it's going to be too little, too late for the Titans. His 130 or more rushing yards in three of his last four games has some thinking the Titans are playoff bound, but their uphill battle will get even steeper after this week.
With the high-octane New Orleans Saints sure to feed them a loss this week, the Titans would have to win out in order to even give themselves a shot at the postseason.
Drew Brees and the Saints have taken down the Falcons, Giants and Lions in the past three weeks. The Titans are outclassed here and though beating the Colts and Jaguars isn't out of the question, going on the road against Houston is going to be impossible for them to win.
The Titans were blown away in a 41-7 massacre the last time they took on the Texans. If and when they lose to the Saints, the Titans' playoff hopes are kaput.
The New York Giants have dropped three straight and though some will see them narrowly losing to the undefeated Packers in a shootout as an indication that they are going to wreck the Cowboys, Rob Ryan's defense is going to feast on Eli Manning.
The Cowboys may have let a bone-headed decision to ice their own kicker cost them the game against the Cardinals. Don't let that make you forget that they had won five of their last six coming into that game.
Which of these teams has the best shot at making the playoffs?
Tony Romo and the Cowboys have been inconsistent all season long, but Manning faces a much taller task than Romo.
DeMarcus Ware is going to have his ears pinned back, as the Giants have the least productive rushing offense in the league. Romo is going up against a 29th-ranked pass defense that allows 260.3 passing YPG.
The horrific four-game losing streak decimates their playoff chances and ending the season with tough games against the Jets and Cowboys to close out the season isn't helping matters.