Chicago (CBS)- The Bears kept their slim playoff hopes alive last week thanks to their Thursday night win over the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field. But, with a record of 7-6, they are currently outside of the playoff picture looking in, trailing the Vikings by two games for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC.
While the win over the Cowboys certainly helped, both the New York Times and FiveThirtyEight playoff prediction models give the team just a two-percent chance of making the postseason. To quote Dumb and Dumber, ‘So you’re saying there’s a chance?’
Well, that chance is contingent on several things breaking the Bears’ way over the final three weeks of the regular season. Thanks to both the Times and FiveThirtyEight, we can play around with the various scenarios that the Bears need in order to lock up a postseason spot. Let’s dive in.
The best case scenario would see the Bears win all three of their final games starting this week at Green Bay, continuing next week vs. Kansas City and ending with a trip to Minnesota. But they would still need the Vikings to lose to either the Chargers or Packers and the Rams to lose two of their final three against the Cowboys, 49ers and Cardinals. That would leave the Bears with a 10-6 record, tied with the Vikings but holding a better divisional record. The Rams, at 9-7 would be on the outside looking in.
If the Bears happen to lose one of their next three games, they would need the Vikings and Rams to experience three-game losing skids in order to make the postseason with a 9-7 record.
If the Bears lose two of their next three, there is no chance for them to make the postseason.
The final scenario might be the wildest to talk through, but let’s have some fun. There is still a possibility that the Bears could win the division. But that would involve Chicago winning all three of their final games and the Vikings losing to the Chargers but beating the Packers in Week 16.
Why do I say this is the wildest scenario? Well, according to FiveThirtyEight’s game prediction model, the Bears have a 37% win probability against the Packers, 41% against the Chiefs and 32% against the Vikings. Furthermore, the Vikings are pegged as likely to beat the Chargers (57% win probability), Packers (63%) and Bears (68%). So, the three-game winning streak itself is unlikely, but adding a Vikings loss to the Chargers this weekend further drops the likelihood.
That all said, there is still a chance. And, sometimes, that’s all you need.