The playoffs are almost certainly out of the picture, but the Chicago Bears still have a chance to at least make the 2019 season a respectable one.
And while disappointing, respectability matters.
One could argue the only real difference between the 2007 and 2014 Bears is the fact that one was able to remain respectable, no matter how frustrating the losses and how apparently bleak the quarterback situation looked. A year after a Super Bowl berth, the Bears managed to win their final two games – including a 35-7 win over NFC North Champion Green Bay – to finish 7-9. (The 2014 Bears embarrassed themselves on and off the field.)
The difference between those two seasons was just two games, but those two games can define perception and perception can determine if a coach keeps his job. If a GM gets another draft. If a quarterback gets to compete for his job. Those two games matter can be the difference between bad and respectable. The Bears have a chance to make the 2019 season at least respectable.
What shouldn’t be lost in this, of course, is the fact that the Bears don’t have a first round pick, so there really is no benefit to losing games. If they can finish .500 or better, however, they can argue they were at least close. They were a couple of missed field goals, a few bad interceptions or a blown assignment away from actually making the playoffs. And, if they can craft an argument that they were competitive and bordering on being a contender, they can possibly convince players to leave money on the table for a chance to compete for a Super Bowl. We saw that last year with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Teddy Bridgewater had a chance to leave New Orleans last year and didn’t because he wanted to play for a contender. A 6-10 Bears team would have a hard chance convincing him they’re that, but put them at eight or nine wins and they’re in business for Bridgewater or any number of players. That’s why this upcoming stretch of games is important.
The Bears have to beat the Lions simply to maintain respectability. After that, they have Dallas at home – certainly a winnable game – before playing at Green Bay against a mostly mediocre Packers team. The bad losses happened and they’re going to prevent this season from being what it very well could have been. The Bears still have a huge hole at quarterback and no clear path to fill it.
But they can be respectable. They can at least give us a few good moments this season and, if they do, there just might be enough reason to still believe in the future of this club.