Bears playoff picture: How Chicago can clinch NFC wild-card spot in Week 17

The Bears (8-7) go into Week 17’s home game with the Packers as the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs. Chicago, following a midseason slump after a 5-1 start, has a real chance get in as a wild card, thanks to the conference adding a seventh playoff team for the 2020 NFL season.

Beating Green Bay won’t be easy. The Packers (12-3) will be motivated to play their best with a chance to lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs as NFC North champions.

Here’s how the Bears can punch a ticket in the tournament toward Super Bowl 55:

1. Bears beat the Packers

The Bears know this is the simplest way to secure their wild-card berth. If they can beat their archrival and avenge the Week 12 loss at Green Bay, the Bears would be in the playoffs. 

If the Bears win and the Cardinals win, then the Bears would move up to No. 6 and the Cardinals would get in at No. 7 with the Rams being eliminated. If the Bears win and the Cardinals lose, the Rams would remain the No. 6 and the Bears would stay at No. 7.

2. Cardinals lose to the Rams

If the Bears lose, they can still get into the playoffs if the Cardinals lose to the Rams. In this scenario, the Rams (10-6) would stay as the No. 6 and the Bears (9-7) would remain at No. 7.

3. Bears tie the Packers; Cardinals tie the Rams

Should this highly unlikely series of events occur, the Bears would be 8-7-1, the Cardinals would be 8-7-1 and the Rams would be 9-6-1. The Rams would be in as the No  6 here. The Bears would still get No. 7.

The Bears and Cardinals didn’t play each other and with the same record, whether it’s 9-7, 8-8 or 8-7-1, the first tiebreaker is conference record. The teams are even at 6-5 now and would stay that way.

So then the next tiebreaker is record in common games. The Bears went 3-2 against the Lions, Panthers, Rams and Giants. Before playing the Rams again, the Cardinals are 1-3 in those games, so they can’t match the Bears there in Week 17.

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