Why the Bears lost to the Vikings and how the NFC Championship Game is going to shake things up
A lot has happened this offseason.
The NFL’s playoff format is being changed, the draft is in a frenzy, and the Bears are now one of the few teams in the NFC who have an elite defense.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the season ahead.
But the Bears haven’t had much luck getting it done.
They’ve gone 9-7 since their last playoff appearance in 2011.
They’re a wild card, but the NFC’s best teams have won seven of their last nine and are playing in front of a fan base that has grown accustomed to being a little more competitive.
So this isn’t a season where the Bears can say, “We’re going to do something special,” because they’re not going to.
They’ll be one of seven playoff teams to miss the playoffs.
The Broncos, Panthers, 49ers, Falcons, Packers, Titans, and Cowboys are all within a game of the playoffs, and it’s still too early to say how the other teams are going to fare in the wild-card race.
That doesn’t mean the Bears aren’t going to struggle.
There’s no doubt that the defense will be challenged and the passing game will be vulnerable, but even the worst team in football is going into the playoffs with the chance to win the division.
This is a team that’s been able to win a division every year since the merger.
And yet, the Bears have yet to win in this division.
That’s a testament to how far the organization has come since its inception.
They were a division rival, but they’ve never won a title.
In the two seasons since they were last in the division, the defense has played well enough to beat the Falcons, Broncos, and Panthers.
And they’ve also won the NFC South and the NFC North.
That makes them the favorite for the division crown.
The problem with that argument is that the Bears don’t play in the best division in football, and they haven’t been to a Super Bowl since the 2012 season.
And even if the Bears were to win their division, they’d still have to win every game in the postseason, meaning they’d need to win at least three more games than the Bears do right now to have a realistic chance of making the playoffs in 2018.
The Bears are only two games away from winning the NFC West, which would make them the biggest wild-cards in the NFL, but that’s still a long shot.
The Packers are in the same boat, and there’s also the possibility that the Vikings are going into that division with a better record than the Packers.
But the Bears and Packers have never faced off, and so far this season, the Packers have only lost two games, including one to the Rams.
The Bears have played two games apiece, and each time they’ve won.
They’ll have to do better than that to be in the running for the NFC East, and while that’s not impossible, the odds aren’t particularly great.
The NFC East is stacked in every conceivable way, but it’s been surprisingly difficult to predict who will finish ahead of whom in each division.
The division winner gets the No. 2 seed in the conference, the NFC wild card (if both teams get there), and the division winner plays the NFC champion in the first round.
But even the division winners can only make the playoffs once.
There’s no clear favorite in this NFC, so it’s really only a matter of when we’ll see who ends up at No. 1.
The Falcons are in a similar situation.
Atlanta has the NFC Central seed, the top seed in each of the NFC divisions, and an outside shot at the Super Bowl, but losing to the Bears in the playoffs is the least of their concerns right now.
The Patriots are still looking for their first division title since 2003, but a 6-10 record and a 9-6 record in the AFC East would be a pretty good start.
The Dolphins have never won the AFC South and are 3-6, but there’s a chance they could pull it off against the Bears.
If the Dolphins lose to the Steelers in the regular season and the Steelers win the AFC Championship Game, they could be the only team in the league with a playoff shot.
But if the Steelers beat the Bengals in the final week of the season, they won’t be in that position.
There are also the wild card teams, which are essentially a playoff team with one wild card game left in the season.
The Patriots have been through three straight wild-ride seasons, and their playoff chances are now in doubt.
If New England loses to the Jets in the Wild Card, the team will miss the postseason.
If they win the Super Bowl against the Saints, they’ll be in line for a playoff spot, but if the Jets win the Wild Cards and win the NFC title, they wouldn’t get there.
The Falcons and Broncos are also two teams that would