Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
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For fans who believe the Bears can rally in the second half of the season and still make the playoffs, here’s a little reality check for you. If the NFL playoffs were to start today, neither the 3-5 Chicago Bears nor the 5-3 Green Bay Packers would qualify for the playoffs. In fact, the last place Chicago Bears have ten, count em, ten teams ahead of them in the standings. It’s going to be a long and difficult climb through the NFC North.
Let’s take a look at how the second half schedule shapes up for the NFC North:
The Bears have 5 home games, but so do the Packers. The Vikings have 4 of their last 7 games at their temporary home at the University of Minnesota. The Lions split their final 8 with 4 apiece at home and away.
As if being in last place in the division wasn’t bad enough, the Bears have the most difficult schedule on the way out. Their opponents’ .538 winning percentage gets weighted with a pair of games against the 6-2 Lions and dates with the Packers and Cowboys. If there’s a bit of good news for the Bears it’s that the home schedule is a tad easier (.497) than their road schedule (.606).
NFL Spin Zone
The Packers’ three road dates are the easiest of any team in the division but still have the Eagles, Patriots and Lions coming to Lambeau. The season finale against the Lions could very well be for the division. Their opponents’ winning % of .512 combined with their 5-3 record puts them in a really good position.
The Lions’ road dates are the most difficult of any team in the division. Back to back road games going to Arizona and then to New England could soften them up before their Thanksgiving home date against the Bears. The next three dates will tell you if the Lions are for real or not. Getting Megatron back will certainly help.
The Vikings could be an interesting team in the second half of the season. After their bye, they come to Chicago and could be getting a couple of big offensive weapons back with injured tight end Kyle Rudolph and admitted child abuser Adrian Peterson possibly ready to return to their lineup. As Teddy Bridgewater gains confidence and their defense continues to improve behind defensive rookie of the year candidate Anthony Barr, they could be the team that leaves the Bears in the cellar. They have the easiest schedule on the way out, with a .464 opponents winning percentage.
What do you think Bears fans? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I was really hoping that when I dug into the numbers, I’d find a path to the postseason. Instead, I found the harsh reality of another cold January watching the playoffs from home.