Deep breath everyone. The Chicago Bears are the 2010 NFC North Champions, becoming the first team in the NFL to wrap up their division but their work is far from over. According to my calculations, there is still a roadmap for the NFC Championship to come through Chicago. It seems unlikely since the Atlanta Falcons sit atop the NFC with a 12-2 record, but there is a way for the Bears to wrestle the #1 seed from Matt Ryan and his Falcons. Follow my logic after the jump.
Step #1 – Bears must win out
The Bears host an up-and-down Jets team at Soldier Field on Sunday and then travel north of the Cheddar Curtain to finish the season at Green Bay. If the Bears win out, they’ll finish up with a 12-4 record. Even if the Eagles win out, if the Bears win out, Philly can’t catch Chicago by virtue of the Week 12 win. But that doesn’t do any good in securing the top spot in the NFC unless…
Step #2 – Falcons must lose out
The Atlanta Falcons host Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football in Week 16 (there’s hope for a loss here) and then host the 2-12 Carolina Panthers in Week 17, a far less likely possibility. But let’s hope.
If the Bears finish up with identical 12-4 records with the Falcons, since they don’t have a head to head matchup, the next tie breaker is conference record, which, if the Falcons lose out, would be the same 9-3 record as the Bears provided the Bears win out.
The next tie-breaker is winning percentage against common opponents. If (and it’s admittedly a BIG if) the Falcons lose to the Panthers, the Bears would have a better winning percentage against that common opponent. I know it seems like a long shot, but there’s a chance.
Step #3 – New Orleans Beats Atlanta but loses to Tampa Bay
Again, the first part of this seems reasonable but the to expect the Bucs to beat the Saints in New Orleans is a bit of a longshot, but in a season full of weird bounces and lucky breaks, why not keep pressing our luck?
It may be a wobbly, uncertain house of cards that has to come together for the road to Dallas to go through Chicago, but you know what the good news is? If the Bears win out, they are assured the #2 seed and a first round bye. Heck, even if they don’t win out, they’re assured of hosting a playoff game at Soldier Field.
You never know if Atlanta loses their home game (assuming they get the #1 seed). And honestly, with the Bears’ team speed, I’m not afraid of going down to Hot-lanta to take on Matty Ice on his home turf.