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Analyzing the Schedules Down the Stretch in the NFC North

| November 26th, 2013

north

Five games remain for each of the teams battling to win the NFC North and earn a place in the tournament. Five games. So let’s take a look at them.

CHICAGO BEARS (6-5)

At Minnesota, home Dallas (Mon), at Cleveland, at Philly, home Green Bay

DETROIT LIONS  (6-5)

Home Green Bay, at Philly, home Baltimore, home New York Giants, at Minnesota

GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-5-1)

At Detroit, home Atlanta, at Dallas, home Pittsburgh, at Chicago

SO…?

After looking at those fifteen games, how is it possible to argue Bears fans should be rooting for the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving?

All three of these teams are capable of losing all of their remaining games, especially if Aaron Rodgers continues to be sidelined with his broken collarbone and the Bears don’t receive reinforcements on the defensive side of the ball. But there is a good chance Detroit will be playing their final three games, two at home, against three teams who’ve cashed in their chips on the 2013 season. The Bears and Packers KNOW, if nothing else, they will be facing a grudge match the final week of the season.

And remember, Bears fans, Chicago must finish a game AHEAD of Detroit. They have no chance to win a tiebreaker with two head-to-head losses already in the books. Rationally speaking the Bears would rather be a half-game behind the first-place Packers heading into the final week of the season than tied for first place with the Lions at that same time. At least they would control their own destiny, at home, on the field. But either way they still need to be a game up on Detroit. Best get that out of the way quickly.

The Bears are not a Super Bowl contender. We all know that. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to listen to these dumbo fans who think losing for draft picks is a real thing in the NFL. Playoff games are the most thrilling thing about being an NFL fan. And you are wasting your time watching the NFL if you wouldn’t sign for a Bears game in January, even a blowout loss, right now.

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  • BearFanInDE

    Hear hear…
    It’s still hard to root for GB…

  • gpldan

    I thought the title said

    “Analyzing the schedules down in the stench of the nfc north”

    Which, honestly, is a better title. Because whomever exits from this foul backwater of a division is one and done in the playoffs.

    • DaBearsBlog

      I thought the same thing. Then I thought…really? You don’t think one of these three can hold serve at home against Carolina?

      I’m not ready to give Cam Newton road playoff wins just yet.

      • Trac

        If the Bears make it to the playoffs, I would like to think they have a legit shot at winning the first contest. Heck we may even have 3 players back on D from injury by then. Ratliff, Peanut, Briggs.

        • Sactowns#1

          Exactly. If the Giants have taught us anything it’s that you can be fair to midland in the regular season and then get hot and healthy at the right time to win it all.

          • they also taught us that having a pass rush is a beautiful, envious thing.

        • johnnywad

          If Ratliff is good, I’m mean back to his old form good, and Briggs comes back solid, this D will look a lot different. In my mind Ratliff is the last hope at salvaging anything from the D down the stretch.

          • AlbertInTucson

            Much as l would LOVE to believe Ratleff has some miles left (you KNOW he’s just DYING to play against Dallas) I will have to see it to believe it.

      • AlbertInTucson

        Carolina’s strength is that Ron Rivera inspired defense. And lately, Steve Smith looks a LOT like the guy who SCORCHED Tillman in Soldier Field once upon a time.

      • NewBearInTown

        Carolina is scary good right now. They’re a dominant defense captained by a tackling machine at MLB and a seriously disruptive DT pair, with a solid running game and above average QB holding down the offense. That’s the team we were trying to build under Lovie for 9 years, but Cam’s a much better QB than everyone we had but Cutler.
        I’m hoping we do better than the NFC East and pull the six seed. Then I’m hoping San Francisco drops a couple more and Arizona squeeks in. I’ll take Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald over Cam and Steve Smith any day of the week.

  • CanadaBear

    I don’t like either team but at least I respect the Fudgies. The Kitties not so much.

    • MB30SD

      canada, did you see my response to you on the last thread?

      • CanadaBear

        Yeah. That seems reasonable. I don’t think I need to eat crow because I did say I’m not giving up on those 4 just yet. All I’m seeing is Pringles at LB. There is a fair argument to be made about OL being on top of them due to the world’s shittiest DL (other than Wootton, he brings it each week).

        • MB30SD

          yeah, I don’t see pringles at LB at all canada. Pringles is just not a good football player. Bostic very much is… he’s just totally out of his league as a rook who was thrown into the deep end without any lessons first.

          I think he’ll be really solid in the NFL. We’re just totally spoiled with our tradition of HOF ILBs. I don’t think he’ll be one of those, but he’ll definitely do a great job until we find our next one.

          • CanadaBear

            You know I hope you’re correct. After seeing some of these young guys make the same mistakes over and over again, it’s hard to stay positive. Sometimes the potential is never realized and what you see is what you get.

          • MB30SD

            if it was year 3 I would say, yep… they’re toast.

            Pretty rough being thrown into it like that. If they’re the same next year I’ll be much more on your side…. but I like to give players at least 2-3 years. Look at ashlon this year vs last.

  • Maddbearfan

    We got to beat the Vikes to worry about anything first!

    • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

      The only thing that will prevent AP from rushing for 200 yds is his groin.

      That’s right, he too has a groin issue, but it’s made from Martian alloy.

  • jimmychange

    If the Lions win and AP runs for 250 and 9 scores and the Bears lose, I’m cashing in and hoping for the draft. We’ll have no shot at the playoffs then. I’d rather have a better draft spot to get some elite defensive prospects.

  • BillW

    I never trust a Bears team that squeeks into the playoffs; too often I’ve seen GMS/coaches kid themselves into thinking they are better than they really are and fail to address issues. Maybe Emery/Trestman are different.
    That said, I will not be sorry if they don’t make the playoffs. I can’t see a scenario where they get good enough to make it to the NFC championship or beyond. If I did, I’d change my feeling.
    That said, I’d rather see the Packers out; so I I end up rooting for them to lose (not for the Lions to win even though it’s the same thing.)
    SCDave from the prior thread about the safeties being among the tackle leaders – just remember, every one of the 32 teams in the league has a leading tackler. And a leading rusher, pass catcher, QB, etc etc. Team stats are not very meaningful.
    Jeff – I’ve seen first round playoff losses that at least seemed like blowouts; after the fact I’d rather they not have played in that game. But I NEVER root for them to lose once any game starts (exception – last year I really wanted Lovie gone so I was hoping they’d miss the playoffs and feared that wouldn’t do it.)
    I’m getting more than a few people hearing they’d rather have Lovie back because of how bad the D is. Man, it’s tough to talk through that attitude. Even though they admit the Bears’ record wouldn’t be any better. I just don’t get that. You can win with an above average offense and average defense. Not sure you can do it the otrher way arounbd (and the Bears offense under Lovie wasn’t even average.

    • DaBearsBlog

      What does that mean, exactly? 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010 were all division champion Bears teams. Where are these Bears teams that squeak into the playoffs or “back” in? I can’t find one in the last twenty years.

      • Sactowns#1

        Hey hey hey there. You keep your facts to yourself.

  • Trac
    • MB30SD

      don’t know if I’d go that far, but i like the way he thinks.

      “That starts with their head coach, Schwartz. He’s a dick, too.”

    • Cormonster

      That’s coming from one of the dirtiest OL in the league. Packers use that “zone crack back blocking” like Shannahan. They don’t do the low blocks in practices because they are afraid of hurting their own players. That said, he’s right about Detroit.

  • BerwynBomber

    We’re set-up to win this thing. The Cheese have been screwed w/out Rodgers and the Kittens are led by gym shorts, so enough said there. I’d truly fear the latter if they had an above average HC. Someone along the lines of Lovie would add a win or two every year.

  • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

    Also, does anyone even remotely believe that even if the Pack are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs that they wouldn’t do everything to knock us out at Soldier Field?

    No way, Jose.

    • AlbertInTucson

      I give you 1968. Last game of the season. Bears win and they’re in depsite no Gale Sayers for the final 6+ games. But they couldn’t beat the Packers with the immortal, Don Horn, in for Bart Starr at QB.

      • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

        Exactly. 50yrs from now I don’t want to reference how the Pack knocked the Bears out of the playoffs in the final game with a QB who didn’t have to play, but did just to fuck us over.

        Naturally, I’m assuming I’ll be posting on the inter-galactic web from the moons of Europa…

      • AlbertInTucson

        And that was a HOME game, at Wrigley Field.

      • johnnywad

        I heard you and your kin lost a rear wheel on your Prairie Schooner on the way in to the game that day. Legend has it, a couple of your cousins were able to hold off an Apache ambush while Pa and Uncle Jeb fixed the iron
        on that wheel and you all arrived safely for kickoff. I for one am thankful the AbertinTucson family tree wasn’t toppled that day. The blog would be missing it most venerable resident historian.

        • AlbertInTucson

          That is sooo not true.

          A) It was a “Model A”

          B) The attackers were drunken Packer fans in search of cheese.

  • AlbertInTucson

    I see NO percentage in losing to gain a higher draft choice. Seems to me like the higher the Bears pick in the first round, the bigger they screw it up anyway.

    • NewBearInTown

      I can understand a team not trying too hard to win a game or two to move up from pick seventh to picking second or something like that. That’s a lousy season either way, and it might be the difference between a franchise QB and another high pick.
      But even in that scenario, the main difference comes from the GM. The coach and the players do everything they can to win every game they can. If the team saves cap money, trades players for picks, or otherwise takes the “long view,” that’s good GM strategy. If a coach deliberately calls a bad game – I just don’t see how it could happen. These guys are built to win.

  • Cormonster

    I never have, and never will understand the philosophy of rooting against your team under any circumstances.

    The Bears D played terrible on Sunday and most of the season, but there’s still almost a third of the season to right the ship and make improvements.

    I’m pissed about the Rams game like everyone else, but the negativity on this site is toxic. It’s like watching Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity.

    Then there’s been the incessant draft talk since the Redskins game. Drives me nuts. The Bears have 5 more fucking games! The only team I don’t dislike left on the schedule is the Browns. I want the B ears to beat every one of these fucking teams.

    Until the Bears are mathematically eliminated I’m rooting hard core every game, and every game after. Because fuck the Vikings, Eagles, Browns, Cowboys, and especially the Packers.

    Some of you pussies can play pretend GM in the meantime, but I’m rooting hard for the Bears to make the playoffs.

    • 4ever85 (AKA Butch Deadlift)

      Discussing next year doesn’t exclude discussing this year. There’s enough blog to talk about both. Hell, Cutler just said he wouldn’t mind the Bears tagging him, so is he a pussy for peaking at the future?

      Besides, we pretty much know most of the strengths and weaknesses of the team this year, so no need going over the same material like ground hog day.

      The negativity is warranted, especially on the defensive side of the ball. You can’t just expect the fans to ignore or accept the disaster that is our D.

      But it’s not as if most bloggers are hoping it gets worse (that I can recall).

      On the flip side, we’re all pretty happy with our O, even if it’s not perfect.

      I don’t see any of the regulars throwing in the towel or rooting against the Bears, esp on game day.

      A few over react (I’m not exactly a stoic either), but hey, that’s sports. Just so long as we don’t cry and blame it on the glitter.

  • BerwynBomber

    I wonder if the Cheese lose to the Kittens if GB then decides to sit Rodgers longer than initially planned. Hard to throw in the towel on a season, but they would essentially be 2.5 games behind Detroit given the latter’s divisional record advantage. They might decide to error on the side of caution, at that point, and not risk further damage to the franchise.

    • Bender McLugh

      Won’t happen unless Rogers is hurt worse than reported, which very well may be the case.

      • BerwynBomber

        Well, it is a broken collarbone. From what I have read the average recovery is six to eight weeks. Yet he is already practicing and it is only three and a half weeks since the injury so there is an obvious rush to get him back. Were I the Cheese and we lost to the Kittens on Thursday, I would seriously think about telling him to take his time; i.e., slim chance they could win the division at that point.

  • Bender McLugh

    It’s interesting to me that in my own head I’m really hating Detroit this year & last MUCH more than the Pack……not even close, which bugs the shit outta me. And absolutely I will be rooting for a Pack win this weekend…… *shiver*!

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