After another disappointing loss, this time to the mediocre 7-6 Minnesota Vikings, you might think we Bears fans would be drinking ourselves into oblivion. After all, today’s 21-14 loss was the Bears’ fourth in the last five games. The Monsters of the Midway are now 8-5 after starting the season 7-1.
But wait. As much as I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy, even I have to admit that the Bears are in a fairly decent position to make the playoffs. Their remaining three games are against the Division-leading Packers in Chicago (let’s face it: a sure loss); at the 4-8 Arizona Cardinals; and at the 4-8 Detroit Lions. Arizona, by the way, is losing badly to Seattle right now, and so they’re likely to be 4-9 after today. Anyway, it’s not at all inconceivable (though hardly guaranteed) that the Bears will end up 10-6, and, if so, will probably make the NFC wild card game.
All things considered, the Bears are pretty fortunate. They coasted through the relatively easy first half of the season, beating the Colts, Rams, Cowboys, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers and Titans (all teams they should’ve beaten), losing only to the Packers in Green Bay. The second half of the season has gone badly so far, but the Bears’ biggest problem has been injuries to critical players like Jay Cutler, Earl Bennett, Brian Urlacher, and Brandon Marshall. And here’s the thing: Even if everyone had been healthy, it’s unlikely they would’ve won all of their last five games. Maybe they would’ve beaten Seattle, and they might even have beaten the Vikings twice. But San Francisco and Houston, too? I doubt it.
So the Bears are 8-5 instead of 9-4 or 10-3, but they’re still in a good position to make the playoffs. And if they make the playoffs, it’s possible that everybody will be healthy by the time the wild card game rolls around. Which just might be better than winning the Division but going into the playoffs with injuries to key players.
That’s pretty damn lucky for a team that really isn’t that good to begin with.
Of course, now that I’ve said that the Bears’ll probably lose all three remaining games and somebody else – maybe the Vikings – will make the playoffs instead. Who knows.
I guess that’s why they actually play the games, instead of just talking about them.