Chicago Bears: Six games that will make-or-break the Bears’ playoffs hopes

Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
5 of 6
Chicago Bears, Michael Thomas
Chicago Bears – Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

Week 16: Vikings (6-8) @ Saints (10-4)

Root for: a Vikings victory

With a Vikings win: GB’s No. 1 seed hopes get easier; CHI could avoid GB’s starters in Week 17 (w/ SEA loss)
With a Saints win: GB will have to go all-in on Week 17 matchup vs. CHI for No. 1 seed

In the Mike Zimmer regime, the Minnesota Vikings have made it a way of life, flustering the New Orleans Saints and defeating them in high-pressure games when they’ve likely had no business doing it.

In Week 16, they’ll again have that opportunity. This time, the Chicago Bears could be among the teams that benefit most from it.

Here’s the basic math to know: the Packers (11-3) hold a one-game lead over the Saints (10-4) and Seahawks (10-4). But even the tiniest bit of pressure from either of those latter teams in Week 16 makes the Packers’ life difficult.

For example, the Packers-Bears game in Week 17 will be of utmost importance because of what it does for their records against the NFC as a whole. Say each of them finish the season at 12-4. The Packers would fall from No. 1 all the way to the No. 3 seed by virtue of another conference loss.

The Bears are going to have to beat Green Bay at Soldier Field on the NFL’s final regular-season week, regardless of how you slice it. But, if the Vikings snag a win this week, it almost becomes a two-man race between the Packers and Seahawks.

We’re approaching murky waters. But in a perfect world, the Vikings do what they’ve historically done. They’ve won three of the last four games against the Saints since 2017, and certainly have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with the best of them, especially if Drew Brees’ arm isn’t shootout-ready. As the dominoes fall in Week 16, consider this one a must-watch game.