GLENDALE, Ariz. Coach Lovie Smith didnt invoke any sort of win one for the Gipper schtick to get his team ready for Sundays game against the Arizona Cardinals. He didnt have to.
The players knew.
Coaches and players talked Saturday evening about the playoff scenarios, then they put the subject aside. It was pretty simple, really: You win or your season is probably over.
The players knew that the Minnesota Vikings had won before their game with the Cardinals.
Yeah I saw the score up there. You know what it is, wide receiver Brandon Marshall said.
So with the New York Giants losing and the Dallas Cowboys not in any position to overtake them, the season comes down to a slightly bizarre arrangement. The Bears need to beat the Lions in Detroit and the Green Bay Packers need to put away the Vikings in Minnesota. Neither result is a gimme.
That means that the Bears will be rooting for the Packers. Yep, it could happen.
Its kind of weird, said cornerback Tim Jennings. Thats just what it comes down to.
The Packers will be playing for the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye. So they will not be resting Aaron Rodgers or others. But Minnesota smacked around the Houston Texans on Sunday, putting the Vikings a win away from the playoffs by virtue of a better division record than the Bears.
That situation will not work in Smiths favor, given that a measuring stick for his job evaluation will be how he has fared vs. the division, the first and most important standard.
But the Cardinals were the whole focus on Sunday.
In the end, if we won the football game, Smith said, it would give us another week to hope.