“Playoffs?! Don’t talk about … playoffs!”
The famous rant spewed by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora has become a permanent fixture in not only NFL culture by almost all of sports.
And it has now been invoked regarding the Bears, because what once was thought to be an impossibility has now been upgraded to improbability.
Following Thursday’s 17-13 upset victory over the Green Bay Packers, the Bears proved that they won’t go quietly into the night. They currently sit at 5-6 — already matching last year’s win total — and are two games behind the Packers and out of the wild card. With five games to go, they’re still mathematically in the hunt.
Will the Bears make the playoffs? Let’s be honest, it’s still unlikely at this point. But no longer can we respond to that question with the same incredulity that we had when the Bears were 0-3.
That’s because not only are the Bears playing like a team on the playoff bubble, but they have five games left against teams with a combined 23-28 record. They have home games against the woeful 49ers and Redskins — which are not gimmes, but are definitely winnable games, before they go on the road against the Vikings and Lovie Smith’s Buccaneers.
For the sake of argument, let’s say they win the games they should against the Niners and Redskins and split against the Vikings and Bucs. That would put them at 8-7 with one game to play, a revenge match against the Lions in the friendly confines of Soldier Field.
Can 9-7 get you into the playoffs? Not likely, unless the rest of the NFC contenders start losing games.
The Bears need to take care of their own business right now and take it one game at a time.
But what a ride it would — and should — be.