NFC Playoff Picture: Week 16 Edition
Let’s take a closer look at the NFC playoff picture and how everything affects the Chicago Bears.
The Chicago Bears have won the NFC North and guaranteed themselves a home playoff game come January. There is still some work to be done, but the Bears can rest far more comfortably now that they know at least they’ll be no worse than the four seed. Where can they finish? Here’s a closer look.
It’s a long shot but the Bears can still get the number one overall seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The key to this is the fact that the Bears will own the tiebreaker over both the New Orleans Saints and LA Rams. How can this happen? Step one, the Bears have to win their last two games, if they split, any hope goes out the window.
Step two, the LA Rams have to lose one of their last two. The Rams are playing their worst football of the season but their final two games are at the Arizona Cardinals and home for the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams should win both these games easily, but if they get upset in one of them, the Bears will have that step complete.
Step three, the Saints need to lose both of their last two games. That’s going to be quite the challenge. Had the Carolina Panthers gotten the job done last week, this would have been more in play, but the Saints have need to lose at home to the Steelers this week and home to the Panthers in week 17 (without Cam Newton). That is a lot to ask for.
This is still a long shot, but far more in play for the Bears. For this to happen, again the Bears most likely need to win both games, but then it becomes an either/or scenario for the Bears. Either the Rams need to lose 1 of the next 2 games or the Saints need to drop both of their last two games.
In this case the Bears would grab the two seed and jump into first round bye territory and get a home game in the division round. The 2 seed vs 3 seed is an interesting one and something that could boost the Bears Super Bowl chances significantly.
One other note, if the Bears split their last two games, they can still jump into the two seed if the Rams drop both of their last two games.
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3 Seed vs 4 Seed
This situation is very straight forward for Chicago. Their magic number to clinch the 3-seed is one. That means just one more win by the Bears or one more loss by the Dallas Cowboys will ensure the Bears the 3-seed.
That means the only way the Bears drop to the 4-seed is if the Bears lose both of their last two games and the Cowboys win both of their last two games. Dallas and Chicago would be tied at 10-6 and in this scenario, the Cowboys would have the tiebreaker against Chicago and the Bears would drop to the 4-seed.
The heavy odds are that the Bears end up as the 3-seed. In that case, they would play the 6-seed team. It’s still pretty jumbled up among the wild card teams but we know there’s only a handful of teams left that have a chance for those final two spots.
The Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins are still vying for a playoff spot. The Minnesota Vikings are still looking to reach the postseason as well. The Panthers are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot and the Seattle Seahawks are looking good to grab a wild card spot.
For argument’s sake, it’s hard to imagine Washington winning their last two games with their QB situation and the Panthers have shutdown Cam Newton and their odds to make the playoffs are less than 1%.
That leaves Dallas, Philly, Minnesota and Seattle for 3 playoff spots because the Cowboys still haven’t clinched the NFC East yet. Again, it’s a safe bet the Cowboys win the division, so the Bears will be looking at playing either the Eagles, Vikings or Seahawks in the Wild Card round of the playoffs at Soldier Field.