It Wasn’t Pretty, But the Bears Beat the 49ers and Still Have a Shot at the No. 2 Seed

Maddening, frustrating, stupid, dumbfounding, and irritating were among the words I used to describe the Chicago Bears’ Week 16 win against the San Francisco 49ers. I also might have used some language that my grandmother wouldn’t appreciate me using, but we’ll just leave those in the thread.

It was an ugly slopfest of a game, but the Bears won 14-9 and all was right in the football world. Their defense stiffened up at the right moments while the offense scored just enough points to squeeze past a 49ers team that turned that contest into a mucked up street fight. Are we sure this game wasn’t played in 2006? Just saying.

The most important development from Sunday’s action was the Bears keeping the heat on the Los Angeles Rams in the race to land the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Chicago could clinch a first-round bye and a No. 2 seed by beating Minnesota and getting help from a San Francisco team next week against Los Angeles. It’s as simple as this: Bears beat Vikings and 49ers take down Rams, then Bears get the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a bye on Wild-Card weekend.

At least we know the Bears won’t be on the New Orleans Saints side of the bracket. By virtue of their win on Sunday, the Bears can do no worse than the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs. So if the Bears don’t finesse their way into a first-round bye, then at least we know they’ll face the NFC’s No. 6 seed on Wild-Card Weekend. Should the Bears win that game, then they would move on to play the Rams in Los Angeles in the Divisional Round. Still … there are games to play that will determine how the playoff picture will shake out.

And to think, the Bears were within a few bounces going their way of being in contention for the No. 1 seed. A combination of a Bears win in Week 17, Rams loss in Week 17, and Saints losses in Weeks 16 and 17 would have led to the road to the Super Bowl going through Chicago. Instead, the Steelers fumbled away a fourth-quarter chance at beating the Saints in the SuperDome, which allowed New Orleans to wrap up the top seed.

But at least the dream of a first-round bye isn’t dead yet!

As for the television-related ramifications for Week 17, there is a good chance the Colts-Titans showdown that could clinch a postseason spot is flexed into the 7:20 p.m. CT time slot and a spot on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. That game, along with the Bears-Vikings matchup, are the only two games next week featuring two teams with winning records. Tough break for the NFL, which puts as many divisional rivalry games late in the season in order to build some year-end drama. So while it’s possible Bears-Vikings could be moved into a late afternoon (3:05 or 3:25) slot, I feel like trying to piece together a workable Week 17 television schedule is easier said than done to the point where I should leave it to the professionals.

In the end, I’m just happy the Bears have locked in the No. 3 seed and could be playing for more in Week 17.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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