FanPost

Bears vs Packers - Who Should Lose?

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via i.huffpost.com

While we have a big game this week that could propel us closer to the playoffs with a win, or almost assuredly destroy our playoff chances with a loss, there is another game this week that could have some bearing on the Vikings: Green Bay vs Chicago. Obviously, if the teams tie, that would be the greatest outcome of all, but since that will almost surely not happen, I wanted to break-down two different scenarios, one where Green Bay loses, and one where Chicago loses to explore which would be the greater benefit to the Viking’s playoff chances. We’ll start with a Green Bay loss.

Scenario 1 – Green Bay loses

The game is being played in Chicago, which would certainly lend itself more to this outcome. When you factor in the likelihood of Cutler starting, and the continued absence of Jordy Nelson and Charles Woodson, this could be the outcome. Green Bay won decisively back in week 2 in Lambeau with a score of 23-10, so it’s definitely possible for them to pull out the win. But, let’s assume that they lose this game, knocking them down to 9-5 on the year.

What will that mean for the Vikings? Well, the Packers play the Titans in Lambeau next week, for what is almost a guaranteed win. That would mean the Vikings and Packers show-down in Week 17 would potentially have a 10-5 Packers squad facing an, at best, Vikings squad that is 9-6. The Packers would be 4-1 in the division under this scenario, facing a Vikings team that is 3-2. If we were to win under this scenario, we would tie with the Packers, and have a tie divisional record. That means our "common games" record would be the next tiebreaker, and that means our games against the NFC West and AFC South (SF, SEA, StL, ARI, TEN, IND, HOU, JAX) would come into play. The Packers will have gone 5-3 with a presumed win against Tennesee against that bunch of teams. The Vikings (with a best-case scenario win against Houston and St. Louis) will have gone 6-2 against that same set of opponents. So, if Green Bay loses to Chicago this week, the Vikings could potentially beat the Packers either for the division win (depending on how Chicago finishes) or for 2nd place, and a probable wild-card spot. If the Bears win, and then win out they would finish the year at 11-5, with a divisional record of 4-2 (winning this game, then losing their next two would put them at 9-7, and 3-3 in the division, so that is their range of potential finishes). The Vikings would have to win the rest of their games however, including two road games against St. Louis this week and Houston next week to beat the Packers. It would be a daunting task, but not out of the realm of possibility.

Scenario 2 – Chicago loses

The Chicago defense has not looked the same since Brian Urlacher’s injury, and he’s likely done for the year. With Jay Cutler missing time recently due to injury, it seems almost inevitable that he might not make it to the end of the year. The Bears O-Line is still a liability, and it is only because of Cutler’s scrambling outside the pocket, and ability to find Brandon Marshall pretty much anywhere on the field that they manage to stay in games. Even though this game is being played in Chicago, the Packers have looked like a better team recently. In the past 5 games, the Bears have gone 1-4, while the Packers have gone 4-1. This could be a very tough matchup for Chicago, and the Packers will get Clay Mathews back this week, just in time to take advantage of the horrible O-line.

So, what would this mean for the Vikings? Well, the Bears finish the year with two road games against Arizona and Detroit. Neither of those are cake-walks, but neither of them is a for-sure loss either. I’d call each of those games a toss-up. For argument’s sake, let’s say the Bears win both of those as their best case scenario and finish the season at 10-6. Under the Viking’s best case scenario they also finish 10-6. The Vikings would have a 4-2 divisional record with that assumption, whereas the Bears would have a 3-3 divisional record. This would give the Vikings a tiebreaker advantage, probably for 2nd place and a wild card spot.

What It All Means

So, which outcome is better? Check out this table for the best and worst possible outcomes for each team compared to the Vikings chances.

Scenario 1 – Green Bay Loses to Chicago in Week 15

Team

Best Possible Record

Worst Possible Record

Green Bay Packers

11-5 (5-1 division)

9-7 (4-2 division)

Chicago Bears

11-5 (4-2 division)

9-7 (3-3 division)

Minnesota Vikings

10-6 (4-2 division)

7-9 (3-3 division)

Scenario 2 – Chicago Loses to Green Bay in Week 15

Green Bay Packers

12-4 (6-0 division)

10-6 (5-1 division)

Chicago Bears

10-6 (3-3 division)

8-8 (2-4 division)

Minnesota Vikings

10-6 (4-2 division)

7-9 (3-3 division)

The bottom line is, nothing is set in the NFC North, even after the outcome of this game. If the Vikings win out, they have a definite shot at the playoffs. It might increase their odds of getting to the playoffs if the Bears lose, because it would be easier to jump over them in the standings, and we would hold the tie-breaker. But, even if the Bears win, we still could win the North outright if the Bears and Packers were to lose out. So in the end, the only way for the Vikings to get to the playoffs is to keep winning, and let the chips fall where they may. What do you think?

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a <em>community</em>, that view is no less important.

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