In Week 15, the Chicago Bears lost all hope of winning the NFC North division title by losing to the rival Green Bay Packers by the score of 21-13. The victory for Green Bay gave them their second consecutive division title, which means the Bears’ only way to make the postseason is to clinch one of the two NFC wildcard spots. With this loss, the Bears are now 8-6 on the season
Chicago’s final two games of the regular season seem to be winnable games for them. Assuming that they win their last two games, the Bears will be 10-6, and should be in good shape to make the postseason. However, looking at how Chicago has played in the second half of the season, I think that they won’t even get past the first round.
The Bears started the season off winning seven of their first eight games, only to nosedive and lose five of their last six contests. In addition, getting a wildcard spot means that Chicago will have to play on the road throughout the postseason. The Bears are currently 3-3 on the road, with only one of the road wins coming against at team with a winning record.
It seems that playoff-contending teams have given Chicago problems all year. Of the nine games that they have had against teams that are potential participants of the postseason, the Bears have only won three of those games.
What contributed to the Bears’ hot start was the play of the defense. Chicago’s defense scoring seven touchdowns off interception returns and leading the league in sacks early in the season made victories come easy for the team. Now the sacks aren’t coming in bunches like they were, and the turnovers aren’t occurring as often.
The offense has never established the running game all year, and has leaned heavily on wide receiver Brandon Marshall to be their playmaker. Running back Matt Forte is one of the best all-around backs in the NFL, yet Chicago still hasn’t found a way for him to get a significant amount of touches each game.
The reason why I say that the Bears will be a waist of space in the playoffs is because of the play of the defense and the lack of a running game. To have success in the postseason, a team must dominate on the defensive side of the ball, and be able to run the ball effectively and consistently. In the latter part of the regular season, Chicago hasn’t proved that they can do either of the two.
I do believe that the chances of the Bears beating the Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions in Weeks 16 and 17 respectively are very high. With that being said, I also believe that a 10-6 record will secure a wildcard spot. Unfortunately, I think that it will be a one-and-done appearance for the Bears in the postseason simply because of the decline of their defense and the inconsistency of the ground attack.
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