‘Tis the season to be jolly, drink egg nog, and fatten up on Christmas cookies. It’s also the time of year for proverbial “Christmas miracles”.
With the Bears’ playoff hopes hanging in the balance and coming down to the final week of the NFL regular season, they could use a little miracle themselves.
Unfortunately, the Bears don’t control their own playoff fortunes despite the possibility of finishing with a solid, 10-6 record. Now, in order to play in January, the Bears have to rely on the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Oakland Raiders.
Conventional wisdom says the surest path to the postseason is with a Giants victory over the Vikings and a division crown for the Bears, because the idea of the Eagles beating the Cowboys and the Raiders heading into Tampa and knocking off the Buccaneers would seem to require a miracle.
As nice as it would be for the Bears to get a home playoff game if they were to win the division, I’d much prefer they win the wild card. Hence, I’m calling for that miracle.
That last Bears-Vikings game in Minnesota doesn’t sit well with me and I’d much rather settle the score with the Vikings in the playoffs than wait until next year. The Vikings have clinched the No. 3 seed — that is, if they win the division — because they beat the Cardinals, who are a game behind with only one to go. The Bears cannot get the No. 1 wild card, so if they were able to secure the remaining wild card, they’d earn a first round trip to Minnesota.
Even if the wild card miracle is not bestowed upon the Bears, winning the division would require a little magic itself. The Giants played their starters for the full game in last year’s season finale after already securing a playoff berth and having nothing more to gain. However, they were also trying to beat the undefeated Patriots and sustain momentum into the postseason.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin prefers to put his best team on the field to win each week, but he also knows the importance of health and might rest a handful of his starters who are presently banged up. Brandon Jacobs may be the most prominent of those who do not see the field Sunday.
It’d be a shame for the Bears to miss the playoffs after everything that went right for them this past weekend and finishing with a 10-6 record if they beat the Texans this weekend.
Let’s hope the magic of the season extends through 3 p.m. Sunday.