I’ve always believed in dreaming the biggest dreams. So who am I to stop you from envisioning a scenario where the Chicago Bears bottom out to a place where they can draft the quarterback of their dreams?
So today, I’m sharing information from Football Outsiders, who in addition to listing playoff odds, also has the odds of each team earning the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the Bears have 0.0% chance of landing an opportunity to position themselves to draft Trevor Lawrence. Sorry to burst your bubble if you believed Chicago had a shot at that pipe dream.
HOWEVER, there is a 0.1% chance of the Bears landing a top-5 pick. Getting to that place could put them in a spot to draft BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. Or at worst, roll the dice on the Trey Lance experience. Is it a long-shot? Yes. But when there’s a non-zero chance at something happening, how am I supposed to pass up an opportunity to talk about it.
Before we get to some more realistic odds, let’s take a moment to visit those scenarios while there is still a realistic probability of a late-season playoff push.
We start with a check on the standings:
NFC North Standings:
1. Green Bay Packers: 7-3
2. Chicago Bears: 5-5
3. Minnesota Vikings: 4-6
4. Detroit Lions: 4-6
My feeling realizing a Bears win and a Packers loss would put Chicago within a game of the division lead:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) November 23, 2020
This is a safe space, so you can admit that a smile crept across your face when this graphic popped up on your TV screens last night:
— Laurence Holmes (@LaurenceWHolmes) November 24, 2020
And later, when you realized the Bears owned a tiebreaker against the Buccaneers, you allowed yourself to briefly dream the biggest and wildest dreams. It’s OK. I felt it, too.
Bears Playoff Odds
Let’s check out the latest from FiveThirtyEight, whose QB-adjusted Elo forecast based on 50,000 simulations of the season. The latest on the Bears’ playoff hopes paints a bleak future:
Green Bay: 96% playoffs, 88% division
BEARS: 34%, 10%
Minnesota: 20%, 2%
Minnesota: 2%, <1%
The Bears’ playoff odds were booming on October 21. FiveThirtyEight’s simulations had Chicago making the postseason in 85 percent of its forecasts. And even if its chances at winning the NFC North weren’t as high as Green Bay, there were still so many good vibes. In the 34 days that have passed since that time, the Bears’ odds have plummeted by 51 percentage points. Eep.
How important is a win to the Bears’ playoff chances? Let’s just say it’s as much of a must-win as you’d expect. Chicago pulling off the upset in Green Bay raises the Bears’ odds to 58 percent. However, a loss drops them further down the pecking order to a 22 percent probability.
Want to root for a best-case scenario that involves the postseason? Then you’re pulling for the Bears, Chiefs, Patriots, and 49ers to win. In other words, if you’ve been looking for a reason to root for Patrick Mahomes, Cam Newton, and Jimmy Garoppolo’s replacement, your time has come!
The playoff odds report from Football Outsiders is another source to get a feel for what the Bears playoffs odds stand. Football Outsiders simulates the season 30,000 times based on their rating system. From there, mean wins, as well as odds for playoff seed, division, wild card, and total playoff odds are shared.
For this exercise, we’ll focus on the Bears total playoff odds, division odds, and wild-card odds:
Green Bay: 92.2% playoffs, 83.8% division, 8.4% wild card
BEARS: 36.3%, 14.5%, 21.8%
Minnesota: 8.1%, 1.2%, 6.9%
Detroit: 4.5%, 0.5%, 4.1%
Once again, it’s not pretty.
The Buccaneers (84%), Seahawks (55.7%), Cardinals (52.8%) following teams have higher probabilities to make the playoffs as a wild-card than the Bears.
In the end, the Bears are essentially in no-man’s land. A win against the Packers slightly upgrades their playoff possibilities, but complicates their quest to draft a much-desired young quarterback. But a three-game losing streak to That Team in Wisconsin will agitate me from the time the game ends until Week 17 kicks off. Hello darkness, my old friend.