The Chicago Bears are still mathematically alive for the NFC North Championship. Here’s how it happens.
For bad football teams to start turning the corner, you always hear about playing meaningful games in December. That’s when bad teams become competitive, when, even though they will fall short, at least have something to play for in December. In theory, the Chicago Bears could still win the NFC North.
No, of course that won’t happen. The Bears are awful- really awful. They are historically awful. The Bears have only lost 13 or more games in a season once in the history of the franchise, but that is well within reach this year. But how often can I write articles talking about how horrible this team is? Let’s pretend for a second that the Bears turn the corner and start winning football games (again, I stress pretend).
If that happens, they could win the division. It’s not impossible. If Nate Silver gave it a mathematical probability it would probably be 0.000000001%. But hey, can we dream? It’s certain worth trying during this nightmare. Are the 2-9 Bears playing meaningful games in December? No, but if you want to dream, this is how they would be.
1. Bears win out
The first non-negotiable is that the Bears must win all their games. That would include three division wins at the Detroit Lions and at the Green Bay Packers and a home win against the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears also win their home games against the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins. They accomplish that feat, they sit at 7-9 with a 5-1 division record.
2. Lions lose out
Again, this is another non-negotiable. The Lions currently sit at 7-4. One more win and the Bears can’t catch them. If the Bears win out, they will give the Lions their fifth loss. The Lions have three road games remaining with the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys. It’s actually a strong possibility they could lose all three of those games. Mix in a loss to the Bears, then all that’s left is the Packers take them out in Detroit in week 17. Bam. Lions go 7-9 and with two losses to the Bears, Chicago holds the tiebreaker.
3. Vikings win one remaining game
The Vikings currently sit at 6-5, just one game behind Detroit for the division. If the Vikings reach eight wins, again, the Bears can’t catch them, but if the Vikings only reach seven, they’ll have two losses to Chicago and again, the Bears will hold the tie-breaker. Let’s assume the Vikings fall to the Packers in Lambeau in week 16. That means in their next three games- home vs Dallas, at Jacksonville Jaguars, home vs Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings must drop two of those. If they do, their record falls to 7-9 as well. In this three-way tie, the Bears will be in first.
4. Packers lose to both Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks
Our beloved neighbors to the North currently sit at 5-6 in third place in the division. After a convincing win against the Philadelphia Eagles, everyone wants to re-anoint the Packers as kings of the NFC, but let’s slow down and keep in mind the Bears are nipping at their heels. We’ve already given the Packers a loss to Chicago in week 15, and we’ve given them wins against Minnesota in week 16 and Detroit in week 17, that would put them at 7-7. Their other remaining games are weeks 13 and 14 and are both home games. They play Houston and Seattle. If they drop those two games, Green Bay will also fall to 7-9, and by virtue of division record, the Bears also would have the tiebreaker against the Packers. Bada Bing, Bada Boom- division champions!
It’s that simple folks, Chicago Bears 2016 NFC North champions, it can happen, right? Right?
After that, it’s a home game victory against the New York Giants in the NFC Wild Card, a road win against the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks and the Bears are Super Bowl- bound. I really don’t see how this is inconceivable. It seems pretty likely to me.