With their win over the Los Angeles Rams last night – what a freakin’ showing by the Bears defense, eh? – the Chicago Bears have clinched their first winning season in SIX YEARS. But there are better things and bigger celebrations to come.
Because while clinching a winning season is great, clinching a spot in the postseason for the first time in EIGHT YEARS is the real goal. And to that end, they’re getting mighty close.
I like the look of this! pic.twitter.com/4JOiN2eZef
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 10, 2018
FiveThirtyEight has both the Bears odds of clinching the division (>99%) or a Wild Card spot (92%) up over 90%, but what does that really mean? How close are they to actually getting it done? Well, very close, but there’s still some stuff to consider/work out.
On Sunday, we introduced the concept of a Magic Number to the football lexicon. Normally a baseball thing, this tells us the combined number of wins for a team in first place and losses by the team in second place that would give the first-place team a cemented spot at the top of the standings. So in the case of the NFC North, any combination of two Bears wins or Vikings losses will give the Bears the division (put simply: their magic number is 2). As we did yesterday, let’s talk through this and clarify some things.
First, if the Vikings lose to the Seahawks tonight, the Bears won’t actually win the division yet, but they’ll certainly inch a little closer. In fact, a Vikings loss would set up an opportunity for the Bears to win the division at home with a win against the Green Bay Packers next Sunday. As the saying goes: “Revenge is a dish best served on the frozen grass of Soldier FIeld.” But if the Bears were to lose that game (seriously, I’ll rage) another Vikings loss (Sunday at noon against the Dolphins) would seal the deal.
As for the Wild Card, the Bears’ Magic Number is 1. That’s right. If the Bears beat Green Bay on Sunday, they’re in and it would only be a matter of time before we knew where they would land from a seeding perspective. Or the Chicago could clinch a postseason berth if Washington loses on the road at Jacksonville on Sunday. (Noteworthy: the Jaguars are 7-point home favorites in this game, but are 2-4 when favored this season).
So there you have it. We already knew the Bears controlled their own destiny entering their Week 14 matchup against the Rams. But after winning handily at home, they’re suddenly in the driver’s seat with their foot hitting the gas looking to bring it home. And it could happen as early as Sunday.
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.