Can the Chicago Bears still make the playoffs?

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Can the Chicago Bears still make the playoffs?

 The Bears playoff chances are on life support. Can they make a miraculous run? | Photo by:  Bears Wire USA TODAY

The Bears playoff chances are on life support. Can they make a miraculous run? | Photo by: Bears Wire USA TODAY

AP

The Bears playoff chances are on life support. Can they make a miraculous run? | Photo by: Bears Wire USA TODAY

AP

AP

The Bears playoff chances are on life support. Can they make a miraculous run? | Photo by: Bears Wire USA TODAY

Michael Gross, Writer

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Expectations were high for the Chicago Bears coming into this season. The team was fresh off an NFC North Division Title and a 12-4 record in 2018-19. The Bears were returning nearly everyone from a defensive unit which was amongst the best in the NFL. They were also returning an offense that ranked third in the NFC in points scored. Finally, they addressed their kicking woes by releasing Cody Parkey and holding a preseason tournament won by Eddy Pineiro.

The Bears began the season 3-1. Despite playing beneath their ceiling, the team appeared to be in good shape to contend for the playoffs. However, four straight losses to the Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles prior to their Week 10 win have dropped the Bears to 4-5, leaving their playoff aspirations on life support

 The Bears have struggled offensively, ranking 27th of 32 NFL teams in points scored. At the center of the Bears’ offensive struggles has been the poor play of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky has yet to throw for 300 yards in a game this season and has struggled to throw the ball accurately downfield. Additionally, the Bears have only had a running back eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark once, when David Montgomery broke out for 135 yards against in the Bears’ Week 8 loss against the Chargers. Allen Robinson’s 102 receiving yards during the Bears’ Week 1 loss to the Green Bay Packers were the only 100-yard receiving game for the Bears this season.

   The Bears have a difficult schedule ahead. Of their remaining seven games, three of them are against teams that both made the playoffs last season and are in playoff contention this season (Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys). The Bears also play the top two teams in the NFC North when they place the 8-2 Green Bay Packers and the 7-3 Minnesota Vikings. Additionally, they also play the Detroit Lions once more, who expect MVP candidate Matthew Stafford to return by then. The Bears’ lone “gimme” game left on their schedule is against the New York Giants, but even they have improved this season following the emergence of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.

In order for the Bears to make the playoffs, they are most likely going to have to win six of their seven remaining games. However, considering the competitiveness of the NFC, even a ten-win season may not be enough to guarantee playoff contention. With an injury-plagued defense and an offense in dire straits, the Bears have placed themselves in an unenviable position. There’s no margin left for error; the Bears must either show up week in and week out or bow out of the playoffs in disgrace. Considering the lackluster performance in four of their last five games, the latter seems exponentially more likely.

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