5 Reasons Why the Chicago Bears Will Make the Playoffs
5 Reasons Why the Chicago Bears Will Make the Playoffs
As the drama from last week's NFC North battle settles -- if that's what you want to call it -- the Chicago Bears currently sit below the Detroit Lions in second place, tied with the Green Bay Packers. Injuries are mounting and trouble seems apparent. The odds appear to be against them for any hopes of making the playoffs.
Jay Cutler is amidst his second injury within the last month, which might put him out a few more games. Head coach Marc Trestman has been questioned more than ever in the past week after leaving his starting quarterback in the game while he was blatantly experiencing pain throughout each snap. The defensive side of the ball is without Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman -- Tillman for eight weeks, Briggs possibly for another three.
It doesn't look good for the Bears -- or does it?
As Chicago prepares to take on a Baltimore Ravens team that is clearly not the same as it was a year ago, they can't help but think there may be some hope. But, it has to start there; no looking ahead, not even a day. Each day of practice has to continue to be better and better as the Bears know every single game from here on out is incredibly important.
So, is there hope for Chicago? Could they really surprise the NFC North with so many odds against them at the moment, come from behind and win the division? If not the division, could they at least sneak into a wildcard spot before it's all said and done?
Well, I can't guarantee anything. But, what I can say is that there is reason to believe in these Bears, even after all that has happened. They still have a few things going for them, and, with a little help, they could find themselves in the postseason after all. With that said, here are five reasons why this Chicago team can still make the playoffs.
5. Strength of Schedule
The Bears don't have a necessarily daunting schedule ahead of them, which is the first reason to feel a little relieved as a fan. Out of the remaining seven games, only one team is currently holding a playoff spot with a 5-5 record -- the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are dead last in passing defense, which should mean a fun game to watch with how this top-tier offense has performed even without Cutler. With games against teams like the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings and of course the Ravens, Chicago has a great shot to go 10-6 or even 11-5.
4. Aaron Rodgers Injury Will Doom Packers
The Packers don't look like they will end up surviving many games without Aaron Rodgers. Second string quarterback Seneca Wallace is knocked out for the season and third stringer Scott Tolzien doesn't appear to have what it takes to win games at the professional level. Tolzien put up 280 yards, a touchdown and two picks against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that ranks 31st against the pass -- not exactly a pleasant equation there. With the Packers likely done until Rodgers returns, the Bears likely won't have to worry about Green Bay.
3. Undisciplined Play Will Catch Up to Lions
The Detroit Lions look pretty scary at some points on offense, but still need just a little bit more consistency from players not named Calvin Johnson. Defensively, they may seem frightening to some, but they shouldn't scare you. In fact, they will end up shooting themselves more times than not by their undisciplined play. Eventually, the penalties always catch up to Detroit and I don't see this season being any different. Their defense simply isn't good enough or disciplined enough to make them considered a playoff team. I would look for the style of play on defense to wind up hurting them in the end, and possibly helping Chicago out with a costly game or two.
2. Offensive Weapons A-Plenty
Coach Trestman may have been criticized for his decision-making last week against the Lions, but overall this season has been a testament to his intelligence. The Bears' offense has been better than it has in the last two decades, maybe even longer -- and that's playing a couple of games without Cutler. Phil Emery has done a fantastic job setting this offense up for success with playmakers like Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. Those four guys are more than enough to continue to put points on the board as long as Trestman stays smart with his play calling. The Bears won't have to worry about a lack of points, that is for certain.
1. Josh McCown Can Get it Done
Similar to my previous point, this offense will score points. Many are worried about the injury to Cutler and what that means not only for this season but for his future, but if I'm the Bears and the city of Chicago I am looking beyond that right now. I'm looking at Josh McCown. With how well he has played in Cutler's absence, and the play calling Trestman has used, this team will not struggle to get in the end zone. The biggest question mark for the Bears going forward is on the defensive side of the ball; and that, folks, is a completely different story at this point.
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