I can’t help but look at the Bears and see a team capable of duplicating what the Cowboys did to the high-flying Saints on Thursday night.
The Cowboys beat the Saints 13-10 in a game that featured sturdy defensive play and a balanced offensive attack. It’s the type of blueprint the Bears could follow if they were presented with a potential postseason showdown against a high-powered offense. And while we have some bridges to cross before we get to that point, I’m happy to point out that Dallas’ win over New Orleans comes with some intriguing playoff implications.
To be clear, the Bears’ playoff odds didn’t move an inch last night. HOWEVER, their chances of getting a fist-round bye are on the up-swing. According to FiveThirtyEight, Chicago has a 25 percent chance to earn a first-round bye in the postseason. Prior to the game, those odds were just 19 percent. And before the Bears entered their stretch of two games in five days, the chances of landing a first-round bye were a slim 13 percent. Yeah, the odds still favor the Saints and Rams as the top two seeds in the NFC … but let’s not count the Bears out just yet.
A Bears win against the Giants would increase the Bears’ playoff odds to 99 percent, their chances of winning the division to 90 percent, and the possibility of hosting a playoff game after a first-round bye to 33 percent. Now we’re cooking, but let’s heat some things up! Should the Rams lose the Lions (however unlikely) it would boost the Bears’ odds of sliding into a first-round bye to 42 percent, which would set up a primetime showdown with major postseason implications. Just the way the executives at NBC drew it up.
Check this out: A Bears win against the Rams would (1) push their playoff chances to above 99 percent, (2) increase their odds of winning the division to 97 percent, and (3) bump the possibility of having a first-round bye to 66 percent. But if the Bears were to lose in Week 14 to the Rams, it would virtually eliminate the chances of a first-round by and drop those odds to 12 percent. But still … these kinds of scenarios are ones we can discuss freely when a team starts winning football games and I’m totally here for it.
Think about it. The Bears are armed with a star pass-rusher, talented players in the secondary, sure-handed linebackers who can tackle and have range to hold their own in coverage, play-making receivers, and running backs who can make things happen out of the backfield. If their quarterback is healthy and on his game throwing accurate passes without turning it over, then the Bears can be dangerous. The only thing that could make the Bears that much more fearful is a bye week and a home playoff game at Soldier Field, which isn’t out of the question after the Saints’ loss last night.