Bears Can Still Get NFC's #1 Seed

Julius Peppers leaves TCF Bank Stadium showing off his NFC North Championship hat (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

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.


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Tags: Atlanta Falcons New Orleans Nfc North Champions Nfc Playoffs Saints

  • Doshi

    There’s one other thing that has to happen.

    Philly has to lose one game.

    I ran an ESPN simulator, and it said that, if the Bears, Falcons, and Eagles all wind up with 12 wins, then the Eagles would get the #1 seed. They’d get the SOV tiebreaker over both Chicago and Atlanta. I know, it’s convoluted, but play out the next two weeks, and you’ll see this one to be true…

    • DeCon

      actually Doshi…the first tie breaker would be head to head and the Bears beat Philly, so Philly doesn’t have to lose for the Bears to get the # 1 seed, although a lot of other things have to happen as Boomer described. I think #1 is unlikely, #2 is possible, but we can finish no worse than #3, so I think it will all work out just fine.

      • Paul

        Actually Doshi is correct. There would be a 3-way tie and since the bears and falcons have not played, you can’t use head to head as a tie-breaker

  • Boomer

    Thanks for chiming in guys. You are correct, since the Bears didn’t play the Falcons, it would go to the Three Team Tiebreaker, as listed from NFL Tiebreaker Procedure:

    Three or More Clubs

    (Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)

    1. Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.
    2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
    3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
    4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
    5. Strength of victory.
    6. Strength of schedule.
    7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
    8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
    9. Best net points in conference games.
    10. Best net points in all games.
    11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
    12. Coin toss

    I think we lose on the Strength of Victory category. Just another thing to watch over the next couple of weeks. Most importantly, Bears have to take care of their business.

    BEAR DOWN!!!

  • Joe

    And if it was a 3-way tie with the Bears, Falcons and Eagles then the Bears get the #2 seed no matter what. (even if the Saints also won). The Falcons are in the drivers seat for SOV over the Bears(guaranteed)a nd Eagles. The best the Eagles can do is tie the Falcons in SOV. Then the Bears would be eliminated and the Eagles get #1 based on H2H.

    So I know this is a bears site but you’ll find this interesting. In the case of the Bears win, the Eagles can only get the #1 this way:
    -Eagles win out
    -Falcons loss
    -Saints loss
    For SOV to be tied also need
    -SF win
    -NYG win
    -IND win
    -PIT win