It’s pretty doom and gloom around Chicago these days for Bears fans. I can’t remember such a downer Packer week in recent years. Five weeks ago, this would have been one of the most anticipated games of the season. The Bears were 7-3 and riding a 5-game winning streak. The buzz around the league, including a lot of so-called “experts,” was that the Bears might be one of the few teams that could knock off the Packers in a playoff game. Then a little Jay Cutler injury came along and rest is history for the Bears.
It seems like the 2011 season is down the tubes, but there is still plenty for the Chicago Bears to be playing for on Christmas night against the Green Bay Packers.
Teeny, Tiny Playoff Chance
I joked earlier this week that there was probably some Good Will Hunting mathematical formula that keeps the Bears’ playoff chances alive. They need help and a lot of it, but when the ball is kicked off on Sunday night, they won’t still be officially eliminated.
The Lions host the Chargers, who are on their annual “Save our Season” December push and the Falcons head to New Orleans on Monday night. Even if the Lions get past Phillip Rivers, a potential Falcons loss will keep the Bears motivated to play.
It’s the Packers
Lovie Smith stated his #1 goal when he joined the Chicago Bears was to beat the Green Bay Packers. As far as I know, that goal hasn’t changed. Sure, it’s probably mostly rhetoric for us meatballs out there, but if Lovie wants to be a man of his word, he needs to rally his troops and get them up for this game.
The Packers might have home field locked up by the time they kick off on Sunday night. Could they be looking past the Bears and looking forward to a little “Christmas Break” if they have nothing to gain?
Even up to a week ago, there was the possibility that the Packers might be playing for a perfect season. That’s out the window after the Kyle Orton led Chiefs helped the ’72 Dolphins pop the champagne corks. If nothing else, the Bears should be looking to ruin their biggest rivals’ season.
There are a lot of free agents up and down the Bears’ roster. This season may be all but down the tubes, but for some of these guys, they will be looking for new jobs next season. For Caleb Hanie, that might mean learning the phrase “would you like fries with that?” but a lot of these guys need to get good tape out there to help boost their value.
The Bears will be in the national spotlight again. The game against the Packers is the only game on Sunday. The Bears should be motivated not to embarrass themselves and the organization in front of a national audience.
Just Plain Pride
If there is nothing else, it’s all about pride. The Bears need to dig deep down and find pride in their jobs, their careers, their team and the organization. This is the oldest and arguably the best rivalry in the NFL. The Bears face the possibility of losing 4 games to the Packers in one calendar year. If that’s not enough to make your head explode, I don’t know what is.