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Not Mathematically Eliminated

itsugly took the time to actually figure out what would have to happen for the Bears to make the Playoffs.  I decided to bump it up to the main page.

If you're wondering what, precisely, "not mathematically eliminated" means, this will be a breakdown of what needs to happen for that dying ember of a playoff dream to once again ignite.

There's no real need to point out that this is unlikely, or that the Bears would get clobbered in the wildcard round, or that our line sucks and so who cares - this is just the math.

Okay. So Kyle Orton struts onto the field and starts slinging passes like the reincarnation of Johnny Unitas. His beard is gone, replaced by a mane of fire. Garrett Wolfe starts zipping under the legs of the opposing backs for first downs on every carry at seventy-five miles an hour. Devin Hester runs straight into the end zone on every play and Orton launches it beautifully into his hands. Nathan Vasher's groin is suddenly magnificent. Brian Urlacher takes the next three days off of practice to visit an ancient mystical acupuncturist in the Himalayas who cures his arthritis and every opposing defense has forgotten how to read the Cover-2. Bernard and Moose start playing like their hands are covered in sticky-tack. Whatever it takes to win the games, pretend it happens.

Here's the rest of the math, week-by-week.

Week 15:
Bears must beat the Vikings. Obviously, this has to happen. It puts the Bears at 6-8, and the Vikings at 7-7. That's the only thing that needs to happen in Week 15 to keep the Bears alive. Aside from that, there are a handful of things that should happen - Washington losing to New York, Arizona losing to New Orleans, and Detroit losing to San Diego would all be good things, but even if they don't happen, the Bears are still not mathematically eliminated from contention.

Week 16:
Bears must beat the Packers. Again, obvious. This has two effects, though - it puts the Bears divisional record at 3-3, and would leave the Vikings at 2-4, meaning if the two teams have the same record at the end of the year, the tiebreaker goes to Chicago.

If Detroit, Arizona, and Washington all won their Week 15 games, then they have to lose this one. So, depending on how the previous week went, you may need to root for Kansas City, Atlanta (yow!), and/or the Vikings (double-yow!)

Oddly, Carolina isn't eliminated yet, either. They need to lose at some point in the final three weeks, as well - against either Dallas, Seattle, or Tampa Bay.

New Orleans and Philadephia, incidentally, are non-entities here. If the Bears win out, then we'd beat either team in a tie-breaker regardless of their record.

Week 17:
Bears need to beat New Orleans. Still for the same obvious reason.

After that, you have to root against the Vikings, unless they lost the previous week to the Redskins. If they -did- lose to the Redskins, then you have to hope Dallas isn't resting their starters and takes the game seriously. The Redskins need to lose two of their next three games. Same as Arizona and Detroit. So root for Denver, Dallas, St Louis, and the Packers (I know...) and that's it.

To recap:
Bears must win out.

Minnesota, Arizona, Detroit, and Washington must lose two of their next three games. Most of them plays at least two teams that can beat them. Arizona has an easier schedule, but didn't look so hot today.

Carolina must lose one game.

And that's the math. The rest, well - we've seen what this team has going for it, and it's not pretty. But if you were curious what, precisely, it would take for the Bears to make the most of the mathematics that keep them alive.

Oddly, it's even still possible for a 7-9 team to make the playoffs in the pathetic NFC (not the Bears, though) - the Redskins or the Vikings could do it, if everyone else loses out.