By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
It’s been a long time since the Chicago Bears were NFC North division champs.
But this is an unfamiliar feeling as of late for the Bears and their fans, that is, playing a last season game with grit.
Sure, they could sit their starters and stay comfortably in the 3rd seed, but why do that when there are several factors at stake?
- Bears have a chance to finish with a 12-4 record. Let that sink in for a minute. The last time the Bears finished with a 12-4 record was in 1988. It was the last season that quarterback Jim McMahon would play under center as a Bear. They lost the conference game against the San Francisco 49ers. Well, since the Bears beat them last week, you could say they are ahead of the game. With a win against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago Bears will have waited eight years to be relevant again.
- They have a chance to be the only NFC North team to be in the playoffs. Another reason to beat the Vikings is so the Bears can be the only team from the North to be in the playoffs. But in order to do that they will have to win in Minnesota, which is not an easy thing to do. You’ll recall the Minnesota Miracle, you know, the one where wide receiver Stefon Diggs catches a long pass from Case Keenum? That was possible due to a missed tackle by a New Orleans Saints defender. That happened, and it ended the Saints season. The Bears can’t let that happen and it starts with every tackle being completed.
- A Rams loss and a Bears win takes them to the 2nd seed and a 1st round bye. Head coach Matt Nagy made it pretty clear when he said, “you go play and you play to win.” The Bears are on a roll, so consistency is key. Beating the Vikings means more than a seat as kings of the NFC North, it is kicking out the competition with no reason to look over your shoulder. On paper, the Los Angeles Rams should be able to beat the 49ers, but it depends on who shows up. Bears fans will be rooting for the 49ers to win along with the Bears this Sunday, so they can have that bye.
Who would have thought that the last game of the season would have so much riding on it. But if the Chicago Bears can out play their performance from Week 11, they just might have this in the bag.
The Bears beat the Vikings 25-20 in Soldier Field by shutting down the Vikings in the first half. QB Kirk Cousins was sacked twice, threw two interceptions. Bears defense shut down the run, keeping running back Dalvin Cook to just 12 yards. The Bears D will have to keep Diggs, Adam Thielen and tight end Kyle Rudolph from big chunk plays.
The Bears offense, on the other hand, needs to be more elusive. Linebacker Eric Kendricks was a nightmare with 12 tackles as well as safety Harrison Smith with eight tackles. But the Bears have Nagy and he will be dialing up some key plays that will keep the Bears ahead.
The Bears cannot let Cousins and company throw in 17 points in the last quarter like they did November. They have to be relentless against Cousins in the pocket.
The Bears are still in it but why not go for it all when you have the coach, a young play making offense and a mean defense to take you there.
#DaBears #OTFB #NFCNorth
Talk Bears football with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63