Tuesday Armchair Quarterback

Can the Bears rally like the Cubs?

Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Oct. 20, 2016. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Oct. 20, 2016. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago Bears have done fans two big favors this year.  First, they got their sucking out of the way early so any delusions of a post-season run were put to death early.  Second, thanks to their quirky schedule, they got their prime time games (SNF, MNF, TNF) and out of the way early as well so that blue collar Grabowskis like me could get their yard work and other fall projects done while there is still some warm weather and daylight left in the Autumn afternoon.

[A 3rd Favor was not being a distraction to the Cub’s amazing World Series run.]

Not So FAST…

I knew someone would notice what I noticed about there not being too many blowout teams and the Bears having a pulse.

In today’s’ NFL it is hard for even a good team to make the playoffs, let alone go deep.  How many 9-7, 10-6 and even the occasional 11-5 team stay home while some 8-8 team gets to go because they won their division.

We are at the mid-season of the football seasons and while there are a few teams with good win records (Patriots, Oakland, Dallas), this is the first time in a while I can recall that the majority of the teams seem to be within a game of .500.  That’s not to say that a 3-5 team is gonna make a Super Bowl run.  But if you are in a lousy division your chance of getting to the playoffs isn’t as hard as your record would indicate.

This year’s Bears were a 4-4 team disguised as a 2-6.  They really should have won at least one (if not both) of the game against the Colts and the Jaguars.   As a fan, especially a once idealistic fan, I would love nothing more than for my Bears to run the table and make the playoffs.  And some day some team will do just that.  Come back from a terrible first half and become the first NFC team to go to and win the Superbowl as a wild card in all road games (I think the AFC has done that, but I’m just too lazy to look it up).

But as a realistic, jaded fan, I know it won’t be this 2016 Bears team.  First, they would pretty much have to win all their remaining games and their division to control their destiny.  barring that, they would need to win 7 of the next 8 including all the division games and the Giants and Washington and hope that the Eagles fade to avoid wild card tie breakers.  Anything beyond that gets a little more muddier.

Reasons to be Optimistic

The Bears are coming off a Bye Week which means they are potentially rested and healed.  They even get some key players back from injuries.  And their remaining schedule, as much as it means anything, is against completely beatable teams, most of whom are struggling themselves around the .500 mark.

Jay Cutler is likely auditioning for his next team and probably has a chip on his shoulder to make John Fox look bad.  If he can play as well as he did last season and bring the extra playmaking ability that Brian Hoyer lacked, there could be a game 17 on the schedule.

Reasons to be Pessimistic

The Bears do the Controlling Their Own Destiny about as well as Donald Trump does Adulting.   They always find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Twice in my lifetime I have witness them go 9-7 and miss the playoffs because of tie breaking rules (both times to Atlanta in fact).  But these are different players, right?

Okay fine.  How about this.  When they won that first game against the Detroit Lions, I was happy, but I also said on Facebook that I’ve seen this movie before.  They do well enough to look like a team making a playoff run, only to disappoint us in time for Christmas.  Note: this was before losing two very winnable games against the Colts and Jaguars.

”We are what we are and right now,” Fox said. ”We could (finish) 10-6 or 2-14. That’s the reality math-wise. I hope we’re moving more toward the first one I mentioned.

Since November is about Gratitude, I’m gonna try and be carefully optimistic.  Go Bears!

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