The Chicago Bears have had quite the up-and-down season in 2020 but here they are in Week 17 with a chance to secure a spot in the NFL playoffs for just the second time since 2010. But it certainly won’t be easy as they match up against their longtime rivals, the Green Bay Packers, who also have something to play for as Aaron Rodgers & Co. are trying to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Despite being at home, the Bears certainly aren’t the favorites on Sunday but can still make the postseason with a loss as long as they get a little help from the LA Rams. But the Rams, who are also trying to get into the playoffs, took a big hit this week as quarterback Jared Goff broke his thumb, an injury that not only affects the Rams’ chances but the Bears’ as well.
The Chicago Bears can get into the playoffs with a win over the Green Bay Packers
One way that the Chicago Bears can earn a playoff berth is the simplest way. Just beat the Packers. If Chicago can knock off their longtime rival at Soldier Field on Sunday, they’re in no matter what happens in any other game. But that certainly won’t be an easy task given how well Green Bay has been playing.
During their five-game winning streak, which started with a 41-25 win over Chicago in Week 12, the Packers have averaged 33.2 points per game while only giving up 19. However, during their own three-game winning streak, the Bears have scored 36.7 points per game while only allowing 17. Chicago obviously hasn’t played an opponent as tough as Green Bay in that stretch but the game certainly should be more competitive than what people thought it might be just a few weeks ago as the Bears’ offense has been clicking as of late.
If the Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers, how do they still make the NFL playoffs?
So we just discussed how the Chicago Bears are automatically into the NFL playoffs if they beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. But what happens if they lose?
Well, that’s a pretty easy answer as well. It won’t take a number of different scenarios playing out as the day rolls along. The only game that matters is the game between the LA Rams and Arizona Cardinals. If the Bears lose, they would need LA to beat Arizona to get in, which just a couple of days ago didn’t sound all that daunting given the fact the Rams haven’t lost to the Cardinals since Sean McVay became head coach in 2017, a string of seven consecutive wins that includes a 38-28 victory back on December 6.
But things have changed since then and the Chicago Bears need to be more than a little worried.
Jared Goff is out for the Rams’ season finale with a broken thumb
During the LA Rams’ 20-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday, quarterback Jared Goff dislocated and broke his thumb in the waning seconds of the third quarter when his right hand, his throwing hand, was hit by the helmet of Seahawks defensive end Benson Mayowa.
Goff did tough it out and finished the game after popping his thumb back into place but he’s been officially ruled out for LA’s Week 17 matchup with Arizona, a decision that had to make fans of the Chicago Bears cringe.
With Goff out of action, the Rams will turn to John Wolford, who went undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2018 and has never appeared in an NFL game. But he did lead the AAF in touchdown passes in his lone season with the Arizona Hotshots last year, which was obviously the only season the league existed.
So that’s who the Chicago Bears will be relying on if they can’t get past the Green Bay Packers. Well, him and that vaunted Rams defense, which is a much better option to rely on at this point.
The Bears and Packers match up at Soldier Field at 4:25 Eastern on FOX while the Rams and Cardinals square off in LA at the same time on CBS.
Scores and schedule courtesy of NFL.com