I spent a healthy chunk of my Sunday traveling from Chicago to San Diego, so I missed a bulk of the football action that took place.
Unfortunately, the results weren’t anything near where the Bears needed them to be at the end of the day.
The Bears received no help from the Seahawks or Lions on Sunday, which cut deeper into Chicago’s already slim postseason aspirations. Detroit didn’t put up much of a fight against Minnesota, while Seattle was spanked by Los Angeles in the Coliseum in front of a prime-time audience on Sunday Night Football. Thanks for nothing, jokers.
Things aren’t looking too great heading into Week 15. FiveThirtyEight’s QB-adjusted Elo forecast has the Bears with just a 2 percent chance of making the postseason. Meanwhile, Football Outsiders has a slightly more optimistic appraisal of the situation, giving the Bears a 4.4 percent chance of landing a playoff spot. Neither number is going to spark much hope, but it is better than being eliminated nine days into the final month of the regular season.
As things stand, the Bears’ best shot at getting into the postseason tournament is by way of the No. 6 seed and the final wild-card spot in the NFC race. Let’s take a moment to check out how that shapes up:
The Race for the No. 6 seed:
- Minnesota Vikings: 9-4
- Los Angeles Rams: 8-5
- Chicago Bears: 7-6
This is how rough the road is for the Bears: Chicago could win out, wrap up the season on a four-game winning streak against teams they entered as underdogs, finish with a 10-6 record … and still miss the postseason. That’s because the Rams have a leg up in the race after beating the Bears head-to-head. It turns out that loss on Sunday Night Football in Los Angeles will hurt the Bears in the long run. Ugh.
Essentially, the Bears’ hope at this point is winning the final three games and getting help elsewhere to give the Rams and Vikings two losses in their final three games. That is a lot to ask right now, but let’s look at their schedules to see if we can find a glimmer of hope:
Vikings Final 3 Games:
- at Chargers
- vs. Packers
- vs. Bears
Rams Final 3 Games:
- at Cowboys
- at 49ers
- vs. Cardinals
Bears Final 3 Games:
- at Packers
- vs. Chiefs
- at Vikings
To be fair, none of the three teams vying for that sixth seed have favorable schedules. And I suppose that is where the final push for the playoffs gets fun. Even still … it is a long shot. But having long odds is better than no odds.
In the end, the Bears have to win the next three just to put the Football Gods in a position to make some magic happen.