Well, I wanted to use this morning to stare at my dominant fantasy football win over Erik (and forget that my wife put up back to back weeks of 149+ points to beat me in a different league) but Red had to get all moody like he does, so I figured I should temper his and Fro Dog's enthusiasm over a Bear loss to Green Bay. Yeah, we looked awful. And yes, once more the defense gave up a respectable number of points to a great offense and Cutler screwed it up. ON THE OTHER HAND, the Bears are still 8-6 and have, with the 'skins, the easiest remaining two games on their schedule. Let's break down the NFC playoff hopefuls in order of playoff likelihood:
Remaining Games: @Philadelphia, vs.Dallas
So yeah, the Redskins pulled a Kirk Cousins out of their ass and beat Cleveland in Cleveland to nearly secure the NFC East. All they have to do is beat Philly (easy) and beat Dallas, a game they play at home. The only thing stopping them from hitting 10-6 and winning the East is the health of RG3, who is said to be recovering very nicely and on track to start at Philadelphia. So expect Washington to take the NFC East.
Remaining Games: @Arizona, @Detroit
Yes, the Bears are next in line in order of ease of schedule for getting to 10-6 and a playoff spot. Remember that as far back as 5 weeks ago we were anticipating a loss to the Packers but two wins at these two teams and a playoff birth. Well, now it's crunch time. Neither of these teams should be able to beat the Bears. One loss here will mean Lovie's job and potentially Cutler's as well (Emery has proven to be more willing to actually do things. Don't be surprised, if the Bears miss the playoffs, if he tries to throw Cutler to a team in position to draft Geno Smith or Matt Barkley.). All that said, it's pretty likely the Bears win out, go 10-6, and make the playoffs. That's because...
New York Giants
Remaining Games: @Baltimore, vs. Philadelphia
The Giants just got destroyed by Atlanta, so kudos to the Falcons for hitting on all cylinders right when they need to. The Giants are, of course, the Giants, so don't count them out here, but I'd expect a loss at Baltimore and a win at home vs. Philly to put them at 9-7. They might still make the playoffs though, because the Bears will lose the conference record tiebreaker if they finish tied with New York. In other words, Bear fans, Eli Manning is right there, and, wait, how did you get a baseball bat in your hand? No, don't do that!... okay maybe just his legs...
Remaining Games: vs.New Orleans, @Washington
That looks like 8-8 to me. Anybody see what Brees did to Tampa last week? Not only that, the Saints-Cowboys game is like the Sean Payton bowl, and I'm sure Drew has something to say about where his coach should end up. @Washington to end the year doesn't exactly inspire much confidence either. I can't imagine a scenario in which this team gets into the playoffs.
Remaining Games: @Houston, vs.Green Bay
That ALSO looks like 8-8 to me. The Texans need one more win to clinch home field throughout, so they'll be playing this game. The Packers will also have a shot, most likely, at a first round bye in week 17 (not to mention a shot at putting Minnesota down for good). The Vikings just don't have the firepower to take on either of these teams.
Considering one of those NFC East teams has to take the division, the Bears are basically facing down the Giants. Though that be a frightening proposition, all the Bears need is for Baltimore to take care of business this upcoming week and to win out against Arizona and Detroit. The tiebreaker goes to New York, yes, so the Giants or Redskins will need to lose a game. But I still think this team will fall into the #6 seed.