Bears Playoff Picture Not That Bad Even After Loss to Chiefs

Pretend with me for a moment that you didn’t watch the atrocity that was the Bears’ 10-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.  Pretend that you can only see the NFC Playoff picture and see the Bears as the #5 seed in the NFC.  That’s not so bad, is it?  From CBS Sports, here is how the Bears get the #5 seed despite identical 7-5 records with the Falcons and Lions:

NFC tiebreakers:

• Chicago finishes ahead of Detroit based on conference record (6-3 to the Lions’ 5-5).
• Chicago is the No. 5 seed ahead of Atlanta based on head to head (1-0).
• Atlanta is the No. 6 seed ahead of Detroit based on head to head (1-0).
• Seattle finishes ahead of Arizona based on head to head (1-0).

Lovie Smith, Jerry Angelo and Caleb Hanie should be sending “Thank You” cards out to the Saints, Cardinals, Packers and Texans.   With the entire field of NFC playoff contenders dropping a game, it helps the Bears continue to tread water and limp (literally) their way into the playoffs.

Let’s look ahead at each contender’s remaining schedule and see if we can back the Bears into meaningful January football.

Thanks to Brad Biggs for summing this up nicely in his 10 Thoughts on Bears’ Loss to the Chiefs:

Let’s put a pin in the Bears for a moment and look at the other contenders first.

Lions (7-5): Minnesota, at Oakland, San Diego, at Green Bay

Depending on the Packers and their motivation to go for a perfect season, it”s possible that the Lions could go 4-0.  It’s more likely that the Lions go 2-2 in their final four games, winning against Minnesota and San Diego and dropping road games at Oakland and Green Bay.  That gets them to 9-7 and 6-6 in the conference.

Falcons (7-5): at Carolina, Jacksonville, at New Orleans, Tampa Bay

The Falcons are in a great position down the stretch.  The game at New Orleans is tough, but the other games are ultimately winnable.  The Falcons could get to 10-6 with wins against Carolina, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.

Cowboys (7-5): N.Y. Giants, at Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, at N.Y. Giants

The Cowboys have a tough stretch with 2 games against their main rival for the NFC East Title, the New York Giants.  For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that they split their series with the G-Men.  The other games are very winnable.  That gets to Cowboys to 10-6 as well.

Giants (6-6): at Dallas, Washington, at N.Y. Jets, Dallas

Just like with the ‘Boys, let’s assume the Giants split with Dallas.  The Giants should win against the Redskins, giving them 2 more wins with the Jets game as a swing game.  Since the Giants and Jets share the Meadowlands (or whatever they call that stadium now), it’s not really a road game for the Giants.  The Jets are on the outside looking in for an AFC playoff shot, so it makes it a bit of an x factor.  If the Giants can beat the Jets, they get to 9 wins and firmly into the playoff picture.

That brings us to the Bears.  After what we saw yesterday, it’s arguable that the Bears might not win another game. But if Caleb Hanie can pull it together, the Bears still have a decent chance at a playoff berth if they can get at least 2 more wins.  Here’s what they have left:

Bears (7-5): at Denver, Seattle, at Green Bay, at Minnesota

If the Bears can find a way to win 2 more measly games, they get to 9-7.  If those wins come against Seattle and Minnesota (or Green Bay, hahaha), they get to 8-4 in the conference, which would put them ahead of the Lions with the same record.  Of course that relies on the Lions to continue their collapse and split their final 4 games.

If the scenario’s play out, the Falcons would move into the #5 seed and push the Bears into a likely return trip to the Superdome to face the Saints or set up a trip to wine country to face the San Francisco 49ers as the #6 seed.   If Cutty can get back, who knows what can happen?

 

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  • Doshi

    As an aside, you would have to first apply Divisional Tiebreakers before getting into Conference tiebreakers for the Wild Card. In this case, it would be the Common Games tiebreaker that would doom the Bears. They will finish behind Detroit if the two happen to have the same record b/c the Bears have a worse record against the same opponents that the Lions have played. The Bears are currently 5-4 against common opponents. Lions are 5-3. Bears have Denver, Minny, and GB left on the schedule, with Seattle being the non-common opponent. Lions have GB, Minny, Oakland, and SD. At every possible point where the Bears and Lions could potentially be tied by record at the end of the season, the Bears will lose out on that common opponents tiebreaker. They need to finish with a better record than the Lions in order to make the Wild Card.

  • Doshi

    As an aside, you would have to first apply Divisional Tiebreakers before getting into Conference tiebreakers for the Wild Card. In this case, it would be the Common Games tiebreaker that would doom the Bears. They will finish behind Detroit if the two happen to have the same record b/c the Bears have a worse record against the same opponents that the Lions have played. The Bears are currently 5-4 against common opponents. Lions are 5-3. Bears have Denver, Minny, and GB left on the schedule, with Seattle being the non-common opponent. Lions have GB, Minny, Oakland, and SD. At every possible point where the Bears and Lions could potentially be tied by record at the end of the season, the Bears will lose out on that common opponents tiebreaker. They need to finish with a better record than the Lions in order to make the Wild Card.

  • BearGogglesOn

    I hear what you’re saying Doshi and that’s how I understood the tiebreakers too, but if that were the case, why do both NFL.com and CBS have the Bears with the 5th seed ahead of Detroit and Atlanta, both of which share 7-5 records along with the Beloved? I will do some homework on this to understand this.@Doshi

  • BearGogglesOn

    I hear what you’re saying Doshi and that’s how I understood the tiebreakers too, but if that were the case, why do both NFL.com and CBS have the Bears with the 5th seed ahead of Detroit and Atlanta, both of which share 7-5 records along with the Beloved? I will do some homework on this to understand this.@Doshi