If Chicago Bears fans are being honest with themselves, the last two weeks have been a disappointing experience. After all, the team has gone from having an outside shot at a playoff berth to being all but eliminated, barring a miracle over the final three weeks of the season.
To help cope with these feelings, we’ve decided to concoct a scenario where just such a miracle can occur, and we have a guide for you on which teams to root for in each week in order for the Bears to sneak into the postseason.
There may be other ways to do this, and if you stumble across them, feel free to share, but here is the path we feel is the Bears’ best chance at making the postseason with an 8-8 record.
For starters, we’ll keep this simple: the Bears have to win their remaining three games against the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Detroit Lions. The Vikings then have to lose their remaining three games, which will be played against Chicago, the New York Giants, and the Green Bay Packers.
Any deviation from this plan would cost the Bears a playoff spot, and render the rest of this scenario impossible to complete.
Here’s the breakdown of who Bears fans need to root for:
Week 15: Buffalo, Arizona
In Week 15, Bears fans should also be rooting for the Buffalo Bills. If the Bills lose to the Washington Redskins, it gives Washington the playoff berth over the Bears in our scenario, because they would beat the Bears and Atlanta Falcons in the conference win percentage tiebreaker, finishing the season at 8-8.
Bears fans should also be rooting for the Arizona Cardinals as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles. In our scenario, an Eagles win would put them at 8-8 on the season, and they would beat the Bears and Falcons in the strength of victory tiebreaker.
Week 16: Philadelphia, Seattle, Jacksonville
In Week 16, the Bears would need to beat the Buccaneers and the Vikings would have to lose to the Giants, but those aren’t the only games that could matter for Chicago. If the Redskins beat the Eagles, the Bears would once again be eliminated in our scenario because of conference win percentage.
The outcome of the Seattle Seahawks’ battle with the St. Louis Rams will also be pertinent, as the Bears need Seattle to win that game, with conference win percentage giving the Rams an edge.
Finally, the Jaguars could help the Bears by beating the Saints. A win here would give New Orleans an 8-8 record in our scenario, and they have a better conference record than the Bears, giving them the tiebreaker and the final playoff spot.
Week 17: New Orleans, New York
In the season’s final week, Bears fans would have to go from rooting against New Orleans to rooting for them. A Saints loss here would give Atlanta a 9-7 record on the year, and they would finish ahead of Chicago in the standings.
Bears fans will also need to root for the New York Giants once again, as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles. An Eagles win would give them the division title, and the Giants would win the final wild card spot over the Bears based on conference win percentage.