We’re at the halfway point of the season. The team is sitting at second in the NFC North with a solid 5-3 record. While the Chicago Bears will be in the mix for playoff contention in the back half of the year, there are still some tough opponents ahead. Pair that with the ongoing struggles on offense and we’ve got the making of a compelling final eight games. Is this Bears team serious about the post season? Let’s take a look at what Chicago has in store this winter to find out.
Five of the final eight games for the Bears are divisional games. These games will be absolutely crucial, as the North is still up for grabs. The three non-divisional games are all against the AFC South, and while they’re out of the conference, they’re still vital tests. A series of trials awaits.
Week 9 at Tennessee (L):
This is probably the hardest game left on the schedule, besides the Packers at Lambeau. All in all it’s a pretty terrifying matchup. The Achilles’ heel of the defense is run defense, which really has fans missing Eddie Goldman right now. The team will have to take on Derrick Henry, who is leading the league in rushing yards by a good margin. The good news is the Titans pass rush, or lack of. The Titans rank 30th in sacks this season with seven. With a shaky offensive line to say the least, it might be a much needed break. Score prediction of 27-20 Titans.
Week 10 vs Minnesota (W):
The Chicago Bears have owned the Vikings in the Nagy era, having never lost a game to them since he was hired. Things shouldn’t be expected to change in week 10 against a lackluster Minnesota team. The 2-5 Vikings got their second win of the season against the Packers last week, being carried on the back of Dalvin Cook. As long as the team can escape Cook having another career day, it should be a comfortable win. Score prediction of 24-14 Bears.
Week 12 at Green Bay (L):
It’s been an odd season for the Packers. Week eight was their first time scoring under 30 points this season. The offense has really been click for the most part. We’ve seen them dominate, and we’ve seen them be dominated. Either way, the Bears don’t have a good track record at Lambeau in recent years. Chicago fans have learned time and time again that Aaron Rodgers comes to play against the Bears. Score prediction of 31-21 Packers.
Week 13 vs Detroit (W):
There has been a similar theme with the Vikings and Lions. Nagy hasn’t lost to them. Despite D’Andre Swift’s best efforts, the Bears are 5-0 against the Lions since Nagy’s arrival in 2018. When the teams met in week one, Adrian Peterson tore up the Bears on the ground, allowing Matthew Stafford to find success in the intermediate passing game. The defense looked gassed and were missing tackles left and right. As the season has progressed these defensive issues haven’t been present, so there’s no glaring signs of trouble in this one. Score prediction of 26-16 Bears.
Week 14 vs Texans (W):
Nothing has gone right for the Texans this year, besides HC/GM Bill O’ Brian getting fired. While the two teams offenses are surprisingly comparable (Texans 25th scoring offense, Bears 26th), the Bears defense is what’s going to make the difference in this game. The Bears have a top 10 defense in points allowed while the Texans are 27th. They have two guys in Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller who can make some explosive plays. This may be a week where rookie CB Jaylon Johnson gets picked on. As long as big plays are limited the Bears should prevail. Score prediction of 23-18 Bears.
Week 15 at Minnesota (W):
The Bears meet the Vikings for the second time a few weeks later, this time in Minnesota. At this point in the season it will be pretty clear that Chicago is the better team than Minnesota. However, anything can happen in divisional games and the Vikings may keep this one close. A December game with some mediocre offenses at best sounds like a defensive battle. Score prediction of 16-14 Bears.
Week 16 at Jacksonville (W):
There isn’t much to say about this matchup except the Bears need to beat the teams they should beat. With how good the NFC West is, there’s a good chance Chicago will be fighting with all of them for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Not falling victim to any “trap games” is critical. Score prediction of 31-17 Bears.
Week 17 vs Green Bay (L):
As cool as it would be to finish the season off by beating the Packers and making the playoffs, the confidence is not there. The Chicago Bears continue to struggle on offense, with the defense actually keeping them in the game. No matter what way this game does end up going, it may act as a test for HC Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. Are playoff implications on the line here and the same old issues are still a problem? If so, expect an uproar. Score prediction of 21-13 Packers.
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The Chicago Bears finishing 10-6 likely gets them a wildcard spot in the post season. This is the first year where the playoffs now have 14 teams, and the Bears could realistically be one of the teams benefitting from additional seeds. Unless Nick Foles turns on his magic sometime in December, it’s hard to see them doing much in the playoffs. The offense needs to be average by this time, or an one-and-done should be expected. An even better defense in 2018 couldn’t make it past Nick Foles in the wildcard round. I’m not sure if adding him to the roster will change that.