(CBS Chicago) — The Chicago Bears, after a 12-4 campaign in 2018, came into this season as a favorite in the NFC. Fast-forward to now, and the Bears face long odds of making the playoffs at all. The blame can’t reasonably be placed on any one player, though Mitch Trubisky, who has struggled through much of what was supposed to be his breakout season, certainly deserves his share.
The Bears have won three in a row and stayed alive last week with a convincing win over the inconsistent Dallas Cowboys. Trubisky tossed three touchdown passes against the Cowboys as he did the week before against the Detroit Lions. He’ll need a similar performance in Green Bay to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and stay in playoff hunt, if only on the fringes.
The Bears are still mathematically alive and will remain so if they keep winning. According to SportsLine NFL analyst Kenny White, they have about a three-percent chance of running the table and making the playoffs. “If they win their last three games, and they’ve got a gauntlet to run through — at Green Bay, the Kansas City Chiefs they host, and then at Minnesota — if they win those three games, they deserve to be in the playoffs. And I think they will be if they do go 3-0. But that’s about a 20-to-1 three-team parlay.”
Those are long odds for sure. But combine their defense with a functioning offense, and these Bears can beat playoff-bound teams just as they have beat sub-.500 teams. And a team riding what would become a six-game winning streak would certainly be dangerous in January. But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
The first of their critical matchups comes this Sunday against the Packers. As White recalls, “Green Bay has owned this series, especially when it’s talking about making wagers at the sportsbook window. Green Bay 13-5 ATS the last 18 meetings. So they’ve been covering point spreads. And most of the time they’ve been a favorite, just like they are this week. But the money coming in is coming in on the Bears this week.”
The Bears head to Green Bay as 4.5-point underdogs. The teams last played opening day in a 10-3 slug-fest, dominated by defense. Since then the Packers have followed Aaron Rodgers to the top of the division, as they often do. But, at 10-3 and only a game ahead of the Minnesota Vikings, a title is hardly assured. A 20-15 win over the dreadful Washington Redskins last week sheds a little light on where this team stands.
White doesn’t think the Packers are a Super Bowl team. “They’ve been beating up on the bad teams. But you know what, they’ve also beaten up on some good teams too, though. I still don’t think this Green Bay team is all that good. It’s all about Aaron Rodgers. He’s been making the offense work. The defense is really, I think, smoke and mirrors. I think Green Bay will have problems come playoff time.”
The Bears play the Packers Sunday @ 12 p.m. CT.