Bears still have a shot to make the playoffs if they start winning (Phillip Pavely - USA Today Sports)
Bears still have a shot to make the playoffs if they start winning (Phillip Pavely - USA Today Sports)

Can Bears still realistically make the postseason?


by - Senior Writer -

As painful of a game it was, it was nice to see the Bears pick up a win on Thanksgiving, even if it was against the Detroit Lions. The win ended a five-game losing streak and moved the Bears to 4-7 as they were going on a month without a victory. Ironically, all it took for the team to win was not only seeing the Lions, but having Matt Nagy reportedly out of a job following the game, which in fact was deemed to be false.

Now that he picked up that win, I think it is safe to say that he will be here for the remainder of the season, which is six more games. Even with a 4-7 mark, the Bears are far from out of it and are in the playoff hunt as we speak. This may not be what most fans want to hear, but Chicago has a legitimate shot at making the postseason, and if that happens, it would be three playoff appearances in four seasons with Nagy.

Would the Bears fire someone who pulled off that feat?

Looking at the NFC playoff picture right now and it appears that five of the seven spots are all but locked up at this point. Arizona continues to lead the NFC with a 9-2 record and are starting to put some distance between them and the second-place Rams. They will be in the postseason one way or another. Green Bay (9-3) and Tampa Bay (8-3) are going to lock up their division in the next few weeks, as will the Dallas Cowboys (7-4), who have struggled in their own right the last few weeks.

While the division leaders appear to be set in stone for the playoff picture, the wild card race is far from over and is where things could get interesting. Despite losing three of their last four games, the Rams are still 7-4 and have a firm hold on the No. 5 seed. Should they get hot the next few weeks, they can still win the NFC West, but should be in the postseason regardless.

San Francisco got off to a rough start, but don't look now; they are one of the hottest teams in the NFC. Now that they are getting healthy, the 49ers have risen to the No. 6 seed holding a 6-5 record in the process. They are one of a few games the Bears let getaway, which could come back to haunt them as the season continues.

As things sit right now, the seven seed is where all the action will be, with the Minnesota Vikings holding that final spot in the postseason despite a 5-6 record. There is a good shot with a game against the Lions next week; the Vikings move to 6-6 and maintain that final spot for at least another few weeks. However, things will get interesting as the Vikings play the Steelers, Packers, Rams, and Bears over the season's final five weeks, so wins could

be hard to come by.

The two games against the Bears are significant as Chicago is only one game behind Minnesota in the standings. Should they win the first meeting, they would then hold onto the tiebreaker against the Vikings with a realistic shot to win two games against them. Take those two games out of the equation, and the Bears also see the Seahawks and Giants, both winnable games, and the Cardinals and Packers.

Looking at the schedule breakdown, the Bears could finish the season 4-2, which would land them at 8-9 to finish out the season. That may or may not be good enough to get the final spot, but you can bet they will be battling until the end. If Chicago can steal a game against Arizona or Green Bay, you are looking at a better chance, but the Bears do control their destiny as well as benefitting from a relatively easy schedule.

You have the Vikings, Falcons, Saints, Eagles, and Panthers in the teams ahead of Chicago right now. All those teams mentioned above have better records than Chicago at 5-6 or 5-7, but I would argue that Chicago is better than all of those teams, minus maybe Minnesota. Other teams ahead of Chicago are Washington and the Giants, while Seattle and Detroit are behind Chicago.

With games against the Giants, Vikings (X2), and Seattle on the horizon, the Bears not only have an excellent opportunity to help themselves, but have an opportunity to make things interesting down the stretch. You also look at the schedules from the rest of the conference, and outside of maybe the Vikings, the Bears have one of the easiest roads the rest of the way.

This is an excellent opportunity for the Bears to finish strong and erase a lot of the pain that has come from this season. Should this team make the playoffs, it doesn't mean that Ryan Pace and Nagy are safe, but you would have to think they would earn some consideration, especially if they can turn the season around and finish strong.

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