Players know only one playoff 'scenario': Win

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Players know only one playoff 'scenario': Win

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.

Fast Break Morning Update: Cubs visit White House; Blackhawks, Bulls in action tonight

Fast Break Morning Update: Cubs visit White House; Blackhawks, Bulls in action tonight

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from Monday:

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Avalanche tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Cubs meet President Obama in unforgettable, symbolic White House visit: ‘They said this day would never come’

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Reports: Dolphins assistant Jeremiah Washburn to be Bears' new O-line coach

Does Cubs president Theo Epstein have a future in politics?

President Obama, with Cubs at White House: 'Among Sox fans, I'm the Cubs' No. 1 fan'

At Cubs' White House visit, President Obama touts Michelle Obama's Cubs fandom, shouts out Jose Cardenal

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Who are the Bulls? The team that beat Cleveland and Toronto or lost to Dallas, Minnesota and Milwaukee?

That's the question Bulls fans are currently asking and the one Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill posed in the video above.

The Bulls have had impressive wins and shocking losses, but neither of those should be surprising at this point. The Bulls are, as Goodwill put it, consistently inconsistent.

The first half of the season has proven that Dwyane Wade still has some memorable moments left to give and Jimmy Butler continues to approach superstardom. On the downside, the drama surrounding Rajon Rondo has meant the 'three alphas' that were hyped up in the preseason haven't been the dynamic trio some Bulls fans had hoped.

Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn't have the shooters his system needs, but can he still rally the troops and get something out of Rondo?

Watch the video to see Goodwill's look back on the Bulls' first half and what could be ahead.