Chicago Bears Playoffs: Let’s Pump the Brakes on Playoff Talk

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Nov 1, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears fans cheer from the stands prior to the Bears

Here’s the rest of the Bears schedule for the rest of the season:

Nov 22 vs Denver Broncos (7-2)

Reason to be optimistic: Peyton Manning is out for the reunion with a plantar fascia issue.  Do you think the Broncos can really win with Brock Osweiler under center?

Reason to be pessimistic: The Broncos have a top tier defense that will make life miserable for Jay Cutler and the Bears offense.

Nov 26 @ Green Bay Packers (6-3)

Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Reason to be optimistic: The Packers are a stumbling, bumbling mess right now, losers of three straight for the first time since Aaron Rodgers’ first year.  They seem to be lost without Jordy Nelson.

Reason to be pessimistic: It’s the Packers, who’ve owned the Bears for the last decade or so.  The Jay Cutler redemption story isn’t complete until he can get past the Packers.

Dec 06 vs San Francisco 49ers (3-6)

Reason to be optimistic: The 49ers are hurting after Jim Harbaugh took off for Michigan and half the team decided to either retire or get themselves arrested.  Colin Kaepernick has gone from the prototype of the next generation quarterback to the next generation bench warmer.

Reason to be pessimistic: It’s hard to be pessimistic about this one. Let’s chalk this up as a win.

Dec 13 vs Washington Redskins (4-5)

Reason to be optimistic: The Redskins are another team who had the next gen QB who’s now riding the pine. The Bears should be good in back to back December home games.

Reason to be pessimistic: Kirk Cousins just put up 47 points, so we know they can score.

Dec 20 @ Minnesota Vikings (7-2)

Reason to be optimistic: The Bears hung with the Vikings and were barely edged out 23-20 a few weeks ago and they’ve gained confidence since.

Reason to be pessimistic: The Vikings are starting to fire on all cylinders as the offense and defense are coming together for Mike Zimmer.

Dec 27 @ Tampa Bay Bucs (4-5)

Reason to be optimistic: The Bears should know right where to attack Lovie Smith’s familiar Cover-2 defense.

Reason to be pessimistic: Jameis Winston is playing pretty well and you know Lovie would love to stick it to his former team.

Jan 03 vs Detroit Lions (2-7)

Reason to be optimistic: The Lions are a mess and should have mailed it in long before their trip to Soldier Field in January to close the season.

Reason to be pessimistic: The Lions beat the Bears earlier this season and have the weapons on offense to put up some points.

Bottom Line

If you look at that slate, can the Bears go 7-0 to finish the season?  With the way everyone has been playing lately, I think every game is winnable, even against the Packers and Vikings.  The Manning-less Broncos will be tough because they have a top tier defense, but they just gave up 29 points to the Chiefs.  You know, the Chiefs that the Bears beat 18-17 earlier this year.

Realistically, the Bears will probably drop one or two of their last seven games.  5-2 gets them to 9-7 and maybe they’re in the discussion, but they’d need a lot of help.  A lot of help.  The losses to the Vikings and Lions loom very large.  How different would the Bears playoff chances look if they were 6-3 instead of 4-5?  Then they’d only need to go 4-3 down the stretch to get to ten wins.  That would look a lot better to play deeper into January.

It’s a shame the Bears had their hardest games right at the start of the season, when they hadn’t learned how to win and hadn’t fully come together yet.  I think the Bears will make it interesting down the stretch and have definitely brought the fun back to Sundays in Chicago, but they’re not quite ready to be a playoff team just yet.

What do YOU think?  What’s your prediction down the stretch.  Can the Bears make a playoff push?