Arkush: Why the Bears are really in the thick of the playoff chase

  • Bears kicker Cairo Santos is surrounded by teammates after kicking the game winning field goal Thursday against the Detroit Lions.

    Bears kicker Cairo Santos is surrounded by teammates after kicking the game winning field goal Thursday against the Detroit Lions. Associated Press

Updated 11/29/2021 2:26 PM

With six weeks remaining in the 2021 season and all of the craziness and turmoil that has surrounded the Chicago Bears, perhaps the most stunning fact of all, and I emphasize fact, is they enter this home stretch just one game out of a playoff spot at 4-7.

Running the table would virtually guarantee them a trip to the postseason, winning five of six would most likely get them in and even going just 4-2 would give them a puncher's chance.


Now take a pill all you haters that claim to be Bears fans even with all your personal distaste and ugly and irrational animus for the head coach and GM.

Nobody is defending anyone or predicting anything here. And based on what we've seen over the past seven weeks you wouldn't have to give me anything more than even money to get me to bet it's not going to happen.

But should they upset currently the best team in the NFC, Arizona, this Sunday and then go up to Lambeau Field the Sunday after and knock off the hated Packers coming off a bye this town would once again be all navy and orange all the time.

While Ryan Pace remains silent and lets this all play out, Matt Nagy is the head coach until he isn't. And he has to and must coach his football team with the message all our goals are still in front of us.

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Asked Monday how he feels about this strange reality the entire NFL standings in both conferences are in right now Nagy said, "When you look at really the NFL in general, the parity of this league, it's so crazy when you look at these games and how they go.

"At the same point in time, the biggest thing for us was to make sure that we snapped that losing streak," Nagy said.

When you break that losing streak, the mentality, it just helps you. That's just natural. You feel better about it, no matter how it comes.

"And so to see that, that you're one game out, with all of those teams that are in that mix for that last spot, I don't care who you are, if you're a competitor, you care about that," Nagy said.

Imagine what the dialogue might be like had the Bears hung on to just one of the games they gave away to Pittsburgh or Baltimore?

Nagy has.

"All of these teams, you look at it, and you say, man if we -- if, if, if," Nagy said. "Well the ifs don't matter. We didn't win those. We lost them.


"And so no matter how we lose them, no matter how we win, our record right now is 4-7, and the goal is to be 5-7."

The Bears have landed at 4-7 without Andy Dalton, David Montgomery, Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, Danny Trevathan and Eddie Jackson for extended periods of time.

Nagy confirmed Monday that Justin Fields did in fact suffer broken ribs vs. the Ravens eight days ago and we know Roquan Smith pulled a hamstring.

According to the Mayo Clinic it takes up to six weeks to heal broken ribs and the most important treatment is to avoid activities that could cause further injury and specifically contact sports.

Without knowing the extent of Smith's hamstring pull we have to assume he'll miss at least the Cardinals and probably the Packers.

It is possible though all but Mack and Trevathan will be back at some point, and it is possible at least in the short run that Dalton will be an upgrade over Fields.

Allowing the future of the franchise on the field with broken ribs would be inexcusable.

Most likely Arizona and Green Bay will put the Bears out of the misery this season has been but even a split would leave them hanging on.

Hey, we are living in this 2021 NFL alternate universe, the Bears are due for some kind of break and stranger things have happened.

Can the glass be half full even if it's only for a few more days?

There is absolutely nothing wrong, perhaps it is even admirable for Bears fans to at least spend a few more days pulling for a true Cinderella story.

The fanatic in fan can cut both ways you know.


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