So, I'm done talking about how bad Ponder played today. It's time for a dose of optimism. So, I submit...our path to the playoffs. If anyone was paying attention, the Bears and Bucs lost today, which only helps our cause. So, check this out.
Vikings Final 4 Games
vs Chicago: At home. All we have to do is shut down Brandon Marshall, and feed Adrian Peterson. Win?
vs St. Louis: Away. Maybe the only truly winnable game left on the schedule, If Harvin is back: Win.
vs Houston: Away. Guess what. Houston has already clinched a playoff spot, and by this time they will surely have clinched their division, and maybe even a 1st round bye. They could be sitting starters. Win?
vs Green Bay: At home. This is a game we should have won today, and you better believe we can win this one. Win.
It's not unreasonable to think the team can actually finish the year on a 4 game win streak. Obviously Ponder, Webb or whoever is the QB will have to play better than Ponder has been playing lately, and we need Harvin back in a major way. But, finishing 10-6 is a possibility. 9-7 is probably a more realistic way to be optimistic. And going 2-2 down the stretch would bode well for next year. Even 7-9 gives us something to build on compared to last year. 6-10 leaves us wondering if we've really improved much.
So, let's run with 9-7. Now check out the rest of the division:
Bears Final 4 Games
vs Vikings: Away. They just lost to Seattle, at home. The Bears defense is the only thing keeping this team in the hunt, and that's not a winning formula. This is a tough one against the Vikes who will be desperate. Loss.
vs Green Bay: At home. Another tough match. Green Bay already beat them once. Loss.
vs Arizona: Away. Should be winnable. The Cards don't have an offense. Win.
vs Detroit: Away. Should be winnable, as the Bears beat Detroit already, but it won't be easy. Win.
Finishes the season at 10-6
Packers Final 4 Games
vs Detroit: At Home. Easy win for the Pack, especially if Clay Mathews is back. Win
vs Chicago: On the Road. A tough game, but I think Rodgers will find a way against the Bears defense. Win
vs Tennessee: At Home. Easy win.
vs Minnesota: On the road. Tough divisional matchup. They didn't handle us easily last time. Loss.
Finishes the season at 11-5, wins division
So, it's certainly possible for us to tie the Bears for the wildcard spot, but I have a feeling we'll be fighting for the 2nd wildcard spot instead. So, don't rule out the Bucs and Seahawks. They're definitely still a part of the wildcard race. But, check out their remaining schedules:
Seattle Final 4 Games
Arizona: At home. Win
Buffalo: Away. Loss
San Fran: At Home Loss
St. Louis: Home. Win
Tampa Bay Final 4 Games
Philly: At Home, Win
Saints: Away, Loss
St. Louis: Home, Win
Atlanta: Away, Loss
So, even though we lost to both of them, their schedules are pretty tough. If both us and Seattle finish 9-7, obviously we lose the tiebreaker against them. So, it will be close. And technically we have the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL. But look on the bright side. We have 2 home games left, and a road game against a mediocre Rams team. 3 more wins is possible, and winning out is not out of the realm of possibility. We're not out of it yet! There is still a lot of football to go.