The Bears Are On The Playoff Graphic (And Other Vikings Game Notes)

- No better place to start a mid Novemeber game preview than the graphic tweet. We talk about this a lot in Chicago because it's typically a preseason goal, and last night we finally get our reward. The first meaningful playoff graphic of the year and the Bears stand proudly atop (the list of teams that are just on the outside). That's just good old fashioned Chicago Bears football. 

At a higher level, it obviously means that it's time to win or go home. Unfortunately we didn't forecast this going into our tough 4-game slate into the bye, but dropping the last 3 has forced our hand. We get manhandled by the Rams and Titans while losing an all time nail-biter to the Saints. Not ideal but this is the life we lead in Chicago. The pressure is seemingly always on and the fact the Cardinals won miraculously yesterday doesn't help our chances. At least there's some good news. 

We've exercised our baked-in excuses in flawless fashion this year. At first it was a quarterback switch because obviously this is all Mitch's fault. Then we shifted our focus to injuries as Cohen goes out for the year and the offensive line takes its blows. Then it becomes a playcalling issue because that's the next excuse on the list. So we trade out Nagy for Lazor because maybe just maybe it helps the football team. We're about to play the 10th game of the 2020 season and we're still finding an identity. That sucks to a lot of people but it actually helps me manage my emotions. Should the Bears fall to 5-5, we get about 2 weeks to recover and talk ourselves into playcalling adjustments. I'm sure everything will be just fine come Sunday night 11/29 against the Packers. 

If you follow Red Line Radio like I beg and plead, then you know how important Cody Whitehair is to the rest of this team. He's the guy that can keep the line interior together long enough for a 3-step drop which is a bigger luxury than you guys think. I'm not saying Bears +3 is a lock but this is probably the biggest injury activation available. Bears +3 is actually a lock. 

Unfortunately there's also no Mitch on the active roster. Bright side is I refuse to let that slow me down.

Down side is we're walking into a must win game with Tyler Bray at backup with Nick Foles taking consistent and unrelenting beatings. There's plenty of supporting jokes for this but I want to keep it real and say that the Bears are better when Mitch is at least an option. Call me crazy but the offensive scheme revolves around a mild run game and intermediate routes to Allen Robinson. That's basically the only way the Bears can move the ball and an injury to Foles would completely ruin whatever's left. It's as bad as that sounds and that's the last piece of bad news I'll share. 

Here's the good news. The Bears still have an elite defense and that still holds up in today's NFL. Last time I checked Nagy is electric against the Vikings and Kirk Cousins blows in primetime. It's not unreasonable to think 17 points wins this game with swirling winds and lakefront Bear weather. Is it a clean blowout start to finish? Probably not. But I get a sense we struggle through 3 quarters to get a big defensive touchdown and a game winner from Cairo because nothing comes easy. I think 43-yards into the north endzone would be a fitting finish. 

Final Score 18-15 Bears.