Well, I don't think the sky has fallen, but it's definitely dropped a few thousand feet. Even the most ravenous Bears' fan has to realize the difficulty of heading back to the playoffs this year: through five weeks, the Bears are lanquishing three games behind two undefeated teams in the division, technically four if you include tiebreaking losses to the Packers and Lions. That's not good. Also, the schedule is not shaping up to be as decent-to-weak as we expected, and some issues this year will continue to hamper us. Let's take a look at the remainder of the Bears' schedule, and our chances of winning those games. Where we're going, we don't need to jump.
This season is not shaping up well for the Bears, to say the least. Two 5-0 teams in the division? Check. Injuries and a lack of depth? Check. Horrible offensive line and defensive play? Martz's questionable play calling? Lovie's challenged understanding of challenges? Check, check, check. There are some positives, but this year's chances of ending up in the playoffs is getting dimmer by the week. My hope? The Bears rebound, play well, enough to make playoffs, and whatever happens after that is gravy (except for firing Angelo, that's a must). But the remaining eleven games are not going to be easy, especially with our underachieving (or are they?) team. So, let's take a quick look at the games the Bears have left, and put some percentages on our chances of winning. For me, the sliding scale will be from 0-100%: 0% is no shot to win, 25% a win would be an upset, 50% I have no idea if we win or not, 75% is a likely Bears win, 100% is lock it down and get the champagne ready, the Bears are winning big! Be sure to make your corrections in the comments section.
Game Six: vs Minnesota (1-4)
Bears' Chance of Victory: 75%
Rationale: If we haven't providing our opponents with running lanes so big you could use them as a runway, I'd go higher, but who knows what AP will do to us. Still, with McNabb as their QB, I feel good about this as a win.
Game Seven: at London, vs Tampa Bay (3-2)
Bears' Chance of Victory: 55%
Rationale: The Bucs are (probably) going to be 3-3 after they play the Saints this week, so the fact that we're on the road and they'll need the win, like us, to get above .500 puts us at about even money. I'd feel worse about our chances if the Bucs didnt' just get rolled by the 49ers.
Game Eight: at Philadelphia (1-4)
Bears' Chance of Victory: 40%
Rationale: After our bye, I just don't like our chances, even if the Dream Team is faltering worse than a Hank Williams Jr analogy. I'm not worried about Vick, even though he may hurt us, I'm more worried their defense starts figuring some things out by then, and McCoy shreds us and steals our lunch money.
Game Nine: vs. Detroit (5-0)
Bears' Chance of Victory: 45%
Rationale: It's a home game, so I think that'll play a big difference since we'll likely have only five pre-snap penalties instead of nine. Also, I like the fact that Cutler played about as well as he could without almost any help, including the swiss cheese defense. Still, it'll be a challenge.
Game Ten thru Thirteen: vs. the AFC West (vs. SD 4-1, at Oakland 3-2, vs. KC 2-3, at Denver 1-4)
Bears' Chance of Victory: SD 35%, Oak 40%, KC 80%, Den 60%
Rationale: What kind of stupid scheduling quirk is it to play an AFC West team four straight weeks? I think San Diego and Oakland are going to be tough games against teams battling for playoff spots with an identifiable strength on offense (San Diego pass, Oakland run), while by then maybe Martz will figure out how to give us an identity on offense other than "run, Cutler, run!" We should beat Kansas City, hands down, but the Denver game worries me - not because of Tebow, but the Broncos are always tougher at home, and their defense is so bad right now I figure they'll improve by then.
Game Fourteen: vs. Seattle (2-3)
Bears' Chance of Victory: 80%
Rationale: This isn't last year's playoff team, and whether Whitehurst or Jackson is under center, I like our chances.
Game Fifteen: at Green Bay (5-0)
Bears' Chance of Victory: 20%
Rationale: We have a shot, but only if one of these scenarios is playing out at the time: Green Bay has the #1 seed locked up and rests its starters; Bears are amped for an upset in an otherwise disappointing season; rancid Wisconsin cheddar causes an undermanned and ill Packers team to fall at home in front of three fans cheering in between upchucking into barf bags.
Game Sixteen: at Minnesota (1-4)
Bears' Chance of Victory: 60%
Rationale: Its lower than the previous game for three reasons: its on the road; both teams' seasons may be in the crapper making it a toss-up as to who's playing; Cutler may be in jail after jamming a football into Mike Martz's... well, use your imagine.
So by my count, if we win the games with at least a 50% chance of success, the Bears' finish 8-8. Include victories in all games 40% and above, and it jumps to... 11-5! Odds of that happening... you tell me.