The Bears Playoff Odds Remain Surprisingly Solid

Social Navigation

The Bears Playoff Odds Remain Surprisingly Solid

Chicago Bears

Back-to-back losses for the Chicago Bears have dampened the mood around here. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago when the odds of a Bears playoff berth looked downright promising (it was early, but I’m optimistic. Shut up). Now, some things have changed, but all hope is not lost. In fact, we’re far from it. So let’s dive on in, starting with the updated standings in the NFC North.

NFC North Standings:

  1. Minnesota Vikings: 4-2-1
  2. Green Bay Packers: 3-2-1
  3. Detroit Lions: 3-3-0
  4. Chicago Bears: 3-3-0

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The good will and positive vibes Chicago built up with a 3-1 start have been wiped away due to consecutive losses to the Dolphins and Patriots. And to make things worse, the Bears tumbled all the way to last place in a hotly contest NFC North (but also, like, three teams have three wins a piece, so let’s not go crazy).

In any case, our worst-case scenario played out as both the Vikings and Lions won last week, which sent the Bears all the way down to the cellar. Now we’re left to wonder how much their playoff odds took a hit. WELP …

FiveThirtyEight: 2018 Playoff and Division Odds

  1. Vikings: 68% make playoffs (+12%), 53% win division (+11%)
  2. Lions: 35% make playoffs (+10%), 22% win division (+6%)
  3. BEARS: 28% make playoffs (-15%), 15% win division (-13%)
  4. Packers: 23% make playoffs (-3%), 11% win division (-3%)

If the Bears’ Week 6 loss to Miami put a dent in their postseason chances, then Week 7’s defeat to New England ripped the bumper and a side-view mirror off the car. How bad is it? Well, FiveThirtyEight’s newest projection has the Bears at just 7.7 wins and 8.3 losses by the end of the season, and the last two losses have dropped their playoff odds by 27(!) percentage points. OUCH!

But hey, if it’s any consolation, the Packers’ postseason chances slipped a bit by FiveThirtyEight’s standards and they didn’t even play! Misery loves company, am I right!?

But, of course, FiveThirtyEight is just one publication – Let’s see what the folks at Football Outsiders have in store for us and the Bears … 2018 Playoff and Division Odds

  1. BEARS: 57.9% make playoffs, 34.9% win division
  2. Vikings: 52.8% make playoffs, 33.4% win division
  3. Packers: 43.3% make playoffs, 23.4% win division
  4. Lions: 15.8% make playoffs, 8.4% win division


The playoff odds report at simulates the NFL season 50,000 times. Win probabilities are given based on a proprietary equation that considers team efficiency and DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) rankings. From there, odds are given for each playoff seed, their chances to win the division, earn a first-round bye, making the playoffs via a Wild Card spot, or making it altogether. You can read up on how the sausage is made here.

From a Bears perspective, the average number of Bears wins over 50,000 simulations is 9.0. Again, that’s a hair more optimistic than what FiveThirtyEight offers up. And while the Bears’ playoff odds took a 17.6 percent slide from Week 6 to Week 7, their 57.0% chance is the best among NFC North teams and fifth highest in the entire conference. That’s pretty nuts … And also probably a bit on the overly optimistic side, so let’s balance that out with one final set of predictions.

New York Times NFL Playoff Simulator

There are 714 tredecillion different ways the 2018 NFL season can end, according to the New York Times’ playoff simulator. Here’s how they see things shaking out:

  1. Vikings: 62% make playoffs, 44% win division
  2. Packers: 39% make playoffs, 21% win division
  3. BEARS: 36% make playoffs, 18% win division
  4. Lions: 29% make playoffs, 17% win division

What’s most interesting about the New York Times’ simulation is that you can project the Bears’ path to the postseason and see how the odds change with any given result. You can play around with it here and see how the Bears’ odds grow or shrink depending on the result you choose. But before you travel down that rabbit hole, let’s discuss the upcoming game’s importance/playoff implications.

Sunday’s Bears-Jets showdown is a pretty big swing game. If the Bears win, their playoff odds increase to 48 percent. Increase is good! But if they lose, their odds drop to 29 percent. Dropping is bad … and 29 doesn’t feel really good. Heck, a tie wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because it would keep Chicago’s postseason hopes at 36 percent (and, of course, the outcome of other games around the league will affect this, but we’ll keep things simple for now).

And, hey, there are worse things than standing pat, especially when “pat” more or less leads to a …

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.