The losses of Jay Cutler and Charles Tillman, in the wake of ones to Lance Briggs, Henry Melton, Nate Collins, D.J. Williams, put the season outcome in obvious distress. Playoffs? Hard to make the math work.
That was on Mike Florio’s mind when Mike and I chatted Tuesday on “ProFootballTalk Live!” and Mike shared the sentiment. Even with Cutler, the math is problematic.
The main reason I mentioned to Mike really had less to do with the quarterback situation; Josh McCown has played extremely well in his limited stints and it is entirely possible for the Bears to defeat Baltimore, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas and Cleveland with McCown. None of the next seven opponents are above .500 and three of the four Bears losses have been to good teams: Detroit twice and New Orleans.
But there’s the rub.
The second loss to the Lions effectively squashes the chance to overtake Detroit, which has an equally dominate-able schedule. That’s a divisional issue.
As important, all four of the Bears’ losses have been to NFC teams. The Bears are 3-4 in conference, trailing the other second-place teams in other divisions.
The Carolina Panthers, already in front of the Bears with a 6-3 record, is 6-2 in conference. The Panthers have a very difficult remaining schedule – New Orleans twice, New England, and their “easy” games (Atlanta, Miami) are on the road – but unless they start losing fast, the Bears will lose tiebreakers there.
San Francisco (6-3) is 3-2 in conference. Even Arizona, up to 5-4, is 4-4 in conference play.
Throw in Green Bay, which projects to get Aaron Rodgers back before the Bears regain Cutler, and there are simply too many teams ahead of the Bears for them all to falter.