Playoffs? Did You Say Playoffs? How It Looks for Bears

The NFC chase for three wild cards, including the remaining games for the legitimate contenders

Barring the unlikely total collapse of the Los Angeles Rams, the wild-card chase involving the Bears looks to be a battle between five teams for two spots.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem well situated to join the Rams as the second of three NFC wild-card teams because they're heading into a bye weekend havinig completed 12 games and have no games remaining against winning teams.

If the Bears ever got into a tiebreaker situation with Tampa Bay, they'd have the trump card with their 20-19 victory over the Buccaneers. This appears an unlikely situation, though, because Tampa Bay's remaining games include two with the Atlanta Falcons.

The Arizona Cardinals hold down the last wild-card spot at the moment and looming large is their last-second win on a Hail Mary pass over Buffalo.

But the Cardinals have one of the more difficult remaining schedules. The San Francisco 49ers, who have to use a backup quarterback, might have a schedule slightly more difficult.

Of the teams currently outside looking in, the Bears have what looks like the easiest schedule but they're a team in a five-game losing streak. Every game looks difficult to teams in five-game losing streaks.

For the Bears, the Vikings' games with Tampa Bay and New Orleans present opportunity, but the showdown at Minnesota Dec. 20 seems to be the game to determine whether they'll have a shot. 

The 19-13 Bears loss to the Vikings currently looms large as a tiebreaker edge between the two, and seeing the Bears in a playoff berth without squaring the the season series seems unlikely. Even if they win the game, the Vikings have one other key tiebreaker currently on the Bears in the form of a 28-22 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Detroit, Atlanta and the runnerup in the NFC East all trail the last wild-card spot by two games, but with three 5-6 teams ahead of them it would take winning out and getting plenty of help elsewhere for them to get back into the chase.

Ties are broken by head-to-head matchups first, and then by the divisional records if teams are within the same division. If they're not from the same division, the next tiebreaker is record in common games. 

If multiple teams tie but not all are from the same division, the divisional tiebreaker is applied first to those within the same division, and then afterward the team or teams still tied apply the other tiebreakers.

Wild Card Chase

Top 3 Finishers Win NFC Wild Cards

Rams (7-4)

Dec. 6 at Cardinals (6-5)

Dec. 10 Patriots (5-6)

Dec. 20 Jets (0-11)

Dec. 27 at Seahawks (8-3)

Jan. 3 Cardinals (6-5)

Buccaneers (7-5)

Dec. 13 Vikings (5-6)

Dec. 20 at Falcons (4-7)

Dec. 26 at Lions (4-7)

Jan. 3 Falcons (4-7)

Cardinals (6-5)

Dec. 6 Rams (7-4)

Dec. 13 at Giants (4-7)

Dec. 20 Eagles (3-7-1)

Dec. 26 49ers (5-6)

Jan. 3 at Rams (7-4)


Vikings (5-6)

Dec. 6 Jaguars (1-10)

Dec. 13 at Buccaneers (7-5)

Dec. 20 Bears (5-6)

Dec. 25 at Saints (9-2)

Jan. 3 at Lions (4-7)

Bears (5-6)

Dec. 6 Lions (4-7)

Dec. 13 Texans (4-7)

Dec. 20 at Vikings (5-6)

Dec. 27 at Jaguars (1-10)

Jan. 3 Packers (8-3)

49ers (5-6)

Dec. 7 Bills (8-3)

Dec. 13 Washington (4-7)

Dec. 20 at Cowboys (3-8)

Dec. 26 at Cardinals (6-5)

Jan. 3 Seahawks (8-3)

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven