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NFC playoff picture: Can the Bears still make the playoffs?

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: It's not very likely

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It's never a good thing when the fate of a football team is in the hands of another team, and certainly not very encouraging when that fate lies in the hands of several teams over a multiple week stretch. Whet I mean by that is, at one point, the Chicago Bears were playing good football, and controlled their own destiny.

Unfortunately, a red-hot November turned into a relatively familiar cold December, and at this point, in order for the Bears to have a shot at the playoffs, a very specific series of events have to occur.  The Bears no longer control their own destiny, and quite frankly, don't look like a playoff team after their most recent back-to-back losses.

Instead of taking a deep dive into all the details,the Chicago Sun-Times kept it simple and laid out the exact scenario of when needs to happen for the Bears to make the playoffs.  Included in parenthesis are my own thoughts...

Week 15

Bears beat Vikings (This year, the Vikings are flat-out a better team)
Jaguars beat Falcons (This could actually happen)
Panthers beat Giants (This is likely)
Bills beat Redskins (Push)
Cardinals beat Eagles (This is likely)
Lions beat Saints (Push)

So this coming weekend, it seems the longest shot of the group is the Bears actually pulling off a win versus Minnesota. Everything else has a good chance of actually occurring.

Week 16

Bears beat Buccaneers (This will be tough; the Bucs are playing pretty good football)
Eagles beat Redskins (Push)
Panthers beat Falcons (This is likely)
Giants beat Vikings (Leaning towards unlikely on this one)

If after Week 15 things are still in place, then the toughest test in Week 16 would, again, be the Bears beating an opponent that's playing good football, along with needing the Giants to knock off the Vikings.

Week 17

Bears beat Lions (This should happen)
Packers beat Vikings (This should happen)

If everything happens in Weeks 15 and 16 that needs to happen, then Week 17 should be a slam-dunk. While the Bears lost to the Lions early in the season, if they are truly in a position to make the playoffs, there's no reason to think that they wouldn't come out swinging for the fences against Detroit.

So long-shot to make the playoffs? Absolutely.

Possible? Barely.

Likely? Nope.

And at the end of the day, are the Chicago Bears even a playoff caliber team? Not this year they're not.

Stay tuned...