Vikings Help Bears Lock Up Bye, NFC Playoff Picture Coming into Focus


This has been the craziest NFL season that I can ever recall.  It’s crazy enough that a supposed blizzard moved the Sunday Night Football game between the Eagles and Vikings to Tuesday night.  It’s even crazier that the double digit underdog Minnesota Vikings pulled off the upset over the Philadelphia Eagles.  With the Eagles’ loss, the Bears lock up no worse than the #2 seed in the NFC and will know going into their Sunday afternoon game against the Packers if they have a chance for the #1 overall seed in the NFC.

In order to secure the #1 seed, the Falcons would need to fall to the lowly Carolina Panthers in the Georgia Dome and the 11-4 New Orleans Saints would need to lose to the Tampa Bay Bucs.  Of course the Bears would also need to beat Green Bay, but with both of the other games tabbed for the earlier start time on Sunday, the Bears will know if they have added motivation to beat the Packers. 

Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith has built an entire coaching career in Chicago on the platform of 1) Beat Green Bay, 2) Win the division and 3) Win the Super Bowl, so it will be interesting to see if he lets up and benches his starters if there is no added incentive for the Bears.

There are still some serious playoff implications with the Bears-Packers game.  A Green Bay win locks them into the NFC’s final playoff spot, leaving the likes of the Giants and Bucs out of the playoffs regardless of their outcomes on Sunday.   Expect to have plenty of extra Bears fans on Sunday, rooting for Chicago to beat Green Bay.

As it stands right now, the NFC playoff picture looks like this:

  1. Falcons
  2. Bears
  3. Eagles
  4. Rams/Seahawks (they face on on Sunday Night football unless a monsoon hits Seattle)
  5. Saints
  6. Packers

It will be interesting to see  if the Bears let up on Sunday and allow their biggest rival into the playoff dance.  As crazy as this NFL season has been, these two could very well match up for the NFC Championship.  That would be an unforgettable Packer week!