Chicago Sun-Times

Breaking down the NFC wild card picture

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It's a wacky world out there in the NFC wild-card race and the Bears' victory over New Orleans Thursday night didn't do a lot to clear anything up. It certainly enhanced the Bears chances though.

Here is a breakdown of it with a little help, make that a lot of help from the Bears' PR information man Mike Corbo:

1. Tampa Bay (9-4, 8-3 in NFC): at Atlanta (8-5), vs. San Diego (5-8) vs. Oakland (3-10)

2. Dallas (8-5, 6-4 in NFC): vs. NY Giants (11-2), vs. Baltimore (9-4), at Philadelphia (7-5-1)

3. Atlanta (8-5, 5-4 in NFC): vs. Tampa Bay (9-4), at Minnesota (8-5), vs. St. Louis (2-11)

4. Philadelphia (7-5-1, 6-4 in NFC): vs. Cleveland (4-9), at Washington (7-6), vs. Dallas (8-5)

5. Bears (8-6, 6-5 in NFC): vs. Green Bay (5-8), at Houston (6-7)

6. Washington (7-6, 6-4 in NFC): at Cincinnati (1-11-1), vs. Philadelphia (7-5-1), vs. San Francisco (5-8)

7. New Orleans (7-7, 4-6 in NFC): at Detroit (0-13), vs. Carolina (10-3)

Wild-card tiebreakers:

1. Head-to-head
2. Best winning percentage in conference games
3. Best winning percentage in common games (minimum four)
4. Strength of victory

Tampa Bay can finish ahead of the Bears with one more victory or a Bears loss.

Dallas entered the week with a one-game edge over the Bears and the Cowboys currently are ahead in conference record and record among common opponents. The Bears can pass them with a better overall record or win a tiebreaker if the Cowboys lose to the Giants and Eagles and the Bears defeat Green Bay.

Atlanta entered the week a game up on the Bears and own a tiebreaker by virtue of their head-to-head victory. It could be that the Bears will wind up rooting for Minnesota to beat the Falcons next weekend.

Philadelphia entered the week with a half-game edge over the Bears. Because there cannot be a tie, the Bears need to finish with a better record.

Washington entered the week ahead of the Bears by virtue of its conference record. A win by the Redskins Sunday at Cincinnati puts them back into the fifth position ahead of the Bears.

The Bears need to beat out five of six teams, including Washington, to win a wild-card berth. if they win out over Green Bay and Houston, they would then need four of these five things to happen:

1. Washington to lose one of its remaining games.

2. Philadelphia to lose one of its remaining three games.

3. Atlanta to lose two of its remaining games,

4. Dallas to lose two of its remaining games.

5. Tampa Bay to lose all three of its remaining games.

Yes, that's a lot of information to crunch right now. It's proof 10-6 is now slam dunk for the Bears to reach the playoffs as a result of their NFC South losses earlier in the season. Cleveland became the fifth team since 1990 to miss the postseason with a 10-6 record last year. At this point, the Bears are best off rooting for Arizona on Sunday to defeat the Vikings and keeping their eyes set on the NFC North title.

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Well my first thought is that we can probably count on the Viqueens to beat Arizona and then lose to Atlanta. That game this weekend with the Falcons and Bucs is big. Dallas and the Giants too.

I had basically given up on the wild card, but there is a legit chance. At least they will know where they stand. By the time the Bears get around to playing the Pack on next week's Monday nite game a lot of those "things" will have happened, or not. It will be interesting to know which of the above teams who is rooting hard for Green Bay.

It looks complicated, but really it's simple. None of this means anything to the Bears unless we beat the Pack.

The bears wouldn't be in this mess if they have a coaching staff that could get them to the playoffs and also be thinking about the playoffs from the beginning of the season instead of the end.

Maybe, we fans will luck out. The Bears don't make the playoffs and Lovie is fired. That is about the only way the Bears would excel next year.
It's time to start talking about the draft....and beg Virgina to fire Lovie.

Bears will win the north because cheeters never prosper. The fat wall should not be playing. Their QB stinks too. Berrian will be sorry. Our D is back!!!

A book will be written after this season is over entitled "How To Lose Everything In 11 Seconds." Sad, but true!! Hey Val, Go easy on Lovie. He doesn't miss tackles, blow assignments, miss blocks, drop passes, get burnt for 99 yard TD's, throw ints, loss temper for 15 yards and a first down to blow game, etc,etc,etc...... If every player did what they are paid to do, he would be a genius!!!


If all five win,(or even just three or four), the Bears' playoff chances will start looking very good.

Assuming we win out (it's ALWAYS assuming we win out...), and the above happened, we'd pass Philadelphia and Washington. And, we'd be one loss by Dallas OR Atlanta/Minnesota away from the playoffs. Since Atlanta and Minnesota play each other, we'd be guaranteed of passing one of those teams.

Realistically, depending on what happens the next two Sundays, the Bears could be either controlling their own playoff destiny by the time they play the Pack, or could be playing for pride - or somewhere in between.

Should be exciting!

Bears still need a quarterback if they intend to get to the superbowl and win it. Kyle Orton appears to be no more than a good back up. He is too content to dink and dunk the ball because his accuracy is too inconsistant beyond ten yards and he doesn't seem to have the instinctive foot work in the pocket that distinguishes the really good quarterbacks. Against good defenses with good linebackers and top cornerbacks these weaknesses will be exploited and the bears will be very easy to shut down offensively. Hopefully, Bears coaches and management won't fool themselves into thinking he's the long term answer until his intermediate and long range passes become more accurate and he learns to buy more time with his feet when he's under pressure.

Too many what-ifs regarding the wild card. I'm for the Vikings losing two while the Bears win the remaining two. That's a more likely scenario than a wild card slot.The Vikings have a rough schedule these last three games and I think they will lose two, maybe all three. The Bears just need to win their own games and not concern themselves about intangibles.

How many INT'S has Kyle thrown in the last month. If he was Rex, he'd be booed out of town by now. Marcus, you are right but they already have Rex and he could lead them. He already did once!! All you Bear fans will be sorry when Rex leaves town! Rex always got blamed for all those fumbled snaps.....I guess we all know now whose fault it really was. Maybe we should boo Mr. Krutz now. We'll miss you, #8!!!!!!

Dahlillama, dude, give it up. Orton's no Tom Brady, and he sucks at the deep ball, but he's serviceable enough. Grossman's one year wonder season is gone. There's always a QB here or there (Derek Anderson for example) who can have a decent year but then the league catches on to their tendencies and figures out how to beat them.

And I'm sorry to report this to you, but Rexy didn't lead the team anywhere. A top 10 defense, outstanding STs, and a rushing attack led by Thomas Jones got them to the big game. Rex was just along for the ride. He's not a franchise QB and neither is Kyle. But until Caleb Hanie takes over, I'll take Orton.

Kyle Orton is not a bad quarterback, yes, I agree, he is no Tom Brady, but how many other teams out there can say they have one as good, other than Indy? Myself, I think the ankle injury Orton suffered vs Detroit was a little more serious than Chicago is letting on. Before the injury, Orton was tearing it up, he averaged about 250 a game in october, Orton even set a Chicago Bears record with 200 and some attempts without an interception, and as far as the long ball goes, Orton has completed over 20 attempts of 20 plus yards. As of late, I think the ankle is the reason Orton is having trouble with the long ball, its hard to plant that foot with the bum ankle. This is also why I think Orton is having trouble with his footwork in the pocket, before the injury, certain broadcasters even talked up Ortons footwork in the pocket, I highly doubt Orton has lost his ability as far as footwork in the pocket, I think the ankle has more to do with this than anything. Also, remember, Ortons footwork can't be that bad, he has only been sacked 22 times so far this season, I know our tackles aren't bad, but their not great either. Ortons receivers have really let him down this season also, heck, one of them ints Orton threw vs the Sains bounced right off the hands of Rashied "butterfingers" Davis, it isn't all Orton, I still think he is the QB for the Bears. Chicago needs to give Orton a weapon at the receiver position this off-season, this would really help Ortons game GO BEARS!!

To those who think Rex is a good QB or that we need a new quarterback,

You. Are. NFL-Retarded.

Kyle Orton, prior to his injury, was a top-5 QB. What did Rex do again while Kyle was out?

After coming back - too soon because Rex laid his usual egg - Orton has struggled while his wide receivers CONTINUE TO DROP PASSES at an alarming rate. Orton has put up good numbers this season with a PATHETIC receiving corp. Brandon Lloyd, Marty Booker, Rashied Davis, and Devin Hester ... Please name me what NFL team any of these guys would be a starter on? Not even Detroit would use these guys.

What do you think, Orton called a play last week and said "Hey Rashied, why don't you run your route and then volleyball the thing right to a defender because your hands suck so bad."

Please. For the love of all that's holy. Please find a new team to root for because you make the rest of us look bad.

Hey Mikey:

"dude give it up" I don't know where or who you are referring to but you must have mistaken me for the Governor of someone else. First of all I have not been stating that Orton is terrible, although he does not throw a very catch able long ball it seems to flat and not easy to run under by fast guys like Hester. Since Orton has started and has proven himself, I am a supporter of Orton over Rex, although I do believe the Bears are lucky to have a backup as good as Rex.

Mike, you must think that I did the blog before yours which I did not, I do not know the person that used the moniker of Rex is the man for a blog name.

Go Bears!!!

To those who have been to Da Church's blogspot, please, raise your hand.

Ok then.

Now that petty insults have been exchanged, I want to bring something to your attention Coach. Wasn't Grossman a top 5 QB in the beginning of '06? Didn't Derek Anderson make it to the 2007 pro-bowl? Didn't the Titans, with Vince Young at the helm, make it into the post-season last year? How are those three doing now?

When you bring up that Orton was a top 5 QB for a few games, I say, so what?

I called Orton serviceable, not terrible. I think Orton's got a good head on his shoulders even though he'll occasionally throw a questionable pick(hello Brian Griese).

Orton's accuracy on the long ball, even the intermediate ball, I'm just not seeing it. It's either overthrown, underthrown or thrown behind. The best long ball I saw Kyle throw was last year's Saints game to Hester. Since then, it's been MIA. And yet, after the Viking's game, countless media outlets were screaming that the Bears sign Orton to an extension. That to me is "retarded."

Kevin mentioned he had over 20 completions of 20+ yards. First of all, a 22 yard pass is nothing to write home about. And when Hester or Forte take a pass the distance, or Brandon lloyd or Booker are forced to make a circus catch, does Orton really deserve credit for his long completions? By the way, though he should make catches like that, the ball that bounced off of Davis' hands was behind him.

And you made it sound like KO has no weapons at all on offense. Granted, the WR corp leaves much to be desired. But aren't Clark and Olsen one of the top receiving tight end duos in the league? And doesn't Forte have a reliable pair of mitts?

Orton does a lot of things well, but he's one dimensional. And until I see some reliability on the vertical passing game, I think Chicago can do better.

Everyone here knows I like Rex, he grew up in my backyard but Orton has footwork problems and maybe even deep throw accuracy problems because of his ankle injury, he was great before he injured the ankle, give Kyle a line next year with a WR and I know he will be a top QB! He had better accuracy on deep throws before the injury but he needs to work with Hester alot more like Manning works with his receivers and like Unitas worked with his receivers, Unitas Berry worked off the field away from practice on their timming throws so when Berry made his cut the ball was waiting on him.


"I want to bring something to your attention Coach. Wasn't Grossman a top 5 QB in the beginning of '06? Didn't Derek Anderson make it to the 2007 pro-bowl? Didn't the Titans, with Vince Young at the helm, make it into the post-season last year? How are those three doing now?"

Grossman had a good run but that was all and now we see who he really is. Vince Young sucks; I said it when he "lead" Tennessee to the playoffs, this year, AND when he was at Texas. And finally, Derek Anderson plays for Cleveland - that is all that needs to be said.

Now may I point out that Kyle Orton lead the Bears to the playoffs as a rookie. Kyle Orton could very well be in the playoffs already if it not were for defensive meltdowns namely blowing a game-winning TD with 12 seconds left in a fricking game. Kyle Orton doesn't play defense. Also, Kyle Orton (I believe) is now 12-1 at home as a starter.

"Kevin mentioned he had over 20 completions of 20+ yards. First of all, a 22 yard pass is nothing to write home about. And when Hester or Forte take a pass the distance, or Brandon lloyd or Booker are forced to make a circus catch, does Orton really deserve credit for his long completions?"

You see we can play this "what if" game all day long. How about the deep balls Orton has thrown where receivers were caught from behind inside the 5? I can think of three off the top of my head. You could counter he should have more interception because of defender drops. I could counter he could have hundreds more yards if his receivers didn't have brick hands.

You talk about throwing deep but then point out his weapons are two TEs and a RB. Do you see the faulty reasoning in your argument? It's like saying Mike Brown sucks because he doesn't make enough sacks when he's in cover two.

Orton is one-dimensional ... he just wins. He takes what the defense gives him and wins. Give him a real WR ... hell give him a #2 WR and I would lay dollars to donuts this offense explodes.

I am not an "I love Orton" or "I hate Rex" supporter but I see what this guy is doing with how little he has to work with (let's not even get into the make-shift o-line that Orton makes look better than what they are ... I'm looking at you John St. Clair) and I'm amazed we done this much. At the beginning of the season I was asking for Caleb Hanie just because I thought this offense was going to suck so badly we might as well do a complete re-build.

Orton has made a HUGE difference for this offense and this team.

Just a quick note for all of us Bear fans. Green Bay was officially eliminated from playoff contention today. I watched the game with my kids and that was better than Christmas!

ps. An aside to Mike, my blog has around 31,000 hits so the personal attack really wasn't all that good. My biggest problem is that I have let it go due to the season and work so I'll make sure I update it more often with articles and not just football picks. Thanks for the reminder!

Pssss.... the Bears are ( if u can believe this ) overrated. I dont understand all the attention they've gotten even to the casual observer , they're mediocre at best . The qb situation is laughable .... Rex Grossman is your QB... Rex Grossman. Does it ring a bell?? he's a 2nd tier qb , always has been always will be. The Defense is slighty above average when they show up but for the most part overhyped. The best thing about this team is a speedy wr/return man . The Bear try to design all their hopes around him , but unforunately this is a team sport. That strategy did pay off against the saints but wont be nearly enough for a post season run. The national media for some reason seems to want the bears to do well , hence all the overhyped bs. I wasn't fooled for a minute.. Rex Grossman

"Now may I point out that Kyle Orton lead the Bears to the playoffs as a rookie."

Good one, Coach. Working on material for your stand-up routine? I think Kyle himself will tell you that a top 5 defense and Thomas Jones "led" the way to the playoffs. He just did his best not to screw up. But if you can explain to me how handing off the ball to Jones constitutes leadership I'd love to hear it.

"You talk about throwing deep but then point out his weapons are two TEs and a RB. Do you see the faulty reasoning in your argument?"

No, I don't. Because the issue wasn't whether or not he throws deep, it's when he does that the passes are totally off the mark.

"Orton has made a HUGE difference for this offense and this team."

He's made some difference. He has good pocket presence and can get the ball out quickly for small chunks of yardage. But the HUGE difference award goes to Forte. KO's not a top 5 QB, but #22 is a top 5 RB.

"An aside to Mike, my blog has around 31,000 hits so the personal attack really wasn't all that good."

I must warn you Coach, carpal tunnel syndrome is a serious condition caused be repetitive motions. And I think that when you go and click on the same link 31,000 times, you put yourself at risk.

Thank Buddah the Packs are out (Lost to the Jags!!??) but the Cards played like crap and let the Vikes walk all over them. We've got to win out and keep our fingers crossed. Still, at least now PackerWacker will stop bothering us b/c I don't expect him to ever come back after the Bears dismantle Green bay on Monday night.

Oh and Mike, let me sum up all of your "points":

Everyone, gather round ... Mike's pearls of wisdom time ...

(clears throat)

Everyone let it be known: If Chicago wins it's because of the defense or the running back. When Chicago loses it's because of Kyle Orton.

... oh wait, wait one more thing folks ...

Fancy Ray, if you're in attendance ... 2007 called and they want their information back. That is all and thank you.

Pssss.... the Bears are ( if u can believe this ) overrated.

Pssss..... you can't be overrated if nearly every expert and fan predicted the Bears to finish 3'rd in the division and lucky to reach .500 !!!!

The Bears contrary to your belief, overachieved this year.

The real overrated team in the NFC North is the hapless GB Puckers. They had the defense, the young core talent and next coming of a "laser rocket arm" passer in Arron Rogers. They should have finished on top this year and now look what they achieved !!!

i would just like to mention the fact that Matt Forte has not dropped a single pass this season (that i know of), and greg olsen is right behind him. seeing as how we run the ball and pass to our tight ends/running back, i think it's pretty impressive that we have so many 20+ yard passes. i agree that we do need better wr's. hester will eventually develop into a useful weapon. he already showed he CAN get open when needed. i think it's a little unfair to put the blame on one person. the whole chicago team has not been consistent this season. however, if you've paid attention, they're looking better. the defense is stepping up when they have to, we squeaked through some tough wins. if we miraculously make it into the playoffs, i think we will win a few games. i mean we DO lead the league in takeaways.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 12, 2008 4:30 PM.

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