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updated: 12/17/2013 2:04 PM

Bears in control of playoff destiny

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  • Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford walks off the field after Baltimore Ravens free safety Matt Elam intercepted his pass with less than a minute to play Monday night. Detroit's loss gave control of the division to the first-place Bears with two games to play.

      Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford walks off the field after Baltimore Ravens free safety Matt Elam intercepted his pass with less than a minute to play Monday night. Detroit's loss gave control of the division to the first-place Bears with two games to play.
    Associated Press

 
 

If the Chicago Bears win their final two games, they're in the playoffs as NFC North champions and will host a first-round game against a wild-card team.

But it's not as easy as it sounds.

To control its destiny and guarantee a postseason berth, coach Marc Trestman's first-place team (8-6) must first travel to Philadelphia and defeat the 8-6 Eagles, whose five-game win streak was snapped on Sunday by the Minnesota Vikings.

Then, the Bears must complete what would be a season sweep of the second-place Green Bay Packers (7-6-1). And that figures to be a Packers team with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback -- Green Bay has playoff possibilities.

And the Packers will have a shot at the playoffs if they defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) at Lambeau Field on Sunday, regardless of what the Bears do against the Eagles.

If the Bears and Packers both lose Sunday, their season finale could still decide the NFC North title, depending on what happens with the third-place Detroit Lions (7-7). Detroit hosts the New York Giants (5-9) on Sunday and finishes on the road against the Vikings (4-9-1).

If the Lions and Bears finish with identical records and ahead of the Packers, the Lions would be division champs since they swept the Bears in the season series, the first tiebreaker.

The Bears cannot make the playoffs as a wild-card team.

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