The Bears don't have the worst record in the NFL, but that didn't stop them from the becoming the first team this year to be eliminated from division title contention.
The Vikings' 33-26 win over the Patriots on Thanksgiving officially means that the Bears can't win the NFC North, giving Chicago the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first team to be eliminated from division title contention.
Going into Week 12, every single team in the NFL was mathematically alive when it came to winning their division, including the Texans, who are currently sitting at 1-8-1. Despite that record, the Texans could still win their division. Yes, it would take a monumental collapse by the Titans, but the point is that unlike the Bears, Houston is still mathematically alive.
The Vikings win doesn't mean the Bears can't make the playoffs, it just means it will be impossible for them to host a first-round game since they'll no longer be able to win the NFC North.
Here's a look at the division tiebreakers and why it is now impossible for the Bears to win the NFC North:
- 1. Head-to-head. The Vikings already have one win over the Bears, so the best Chicago can do here is beat Minnesota in Week 18, which would even out the series. If that were to happen, that would take us to tiebreaker No. 2.
- 2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division. The Vikings are currently 3-0 in the division while the Bears are 0-3, which means the best the Bears can do is tie the Vikings at 3-3. If that happens, we would go to tiebreaker No. 3.
- 3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games. The Vikings and Bears play 12 common games, and this is where the official clinching happened. At this point, the best the Bears can do is go 6-6 in the common games. On the other hand, with Minnesota's win over New England, the Vikings can now do no worse than 7-5, which gives Minnesota the edge should both teams finish 9-8.
Although the Bears can't win the division this year, fans in Chicago probably won't be that upset and that's because the team appears to finally have found a franchise QB. Justin Fields has turned into one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in football and he's currently on pace for 1,288 rushing yards, which would set a single-season record for quarterbacks.
Fields has also been on a tear over the past few weeks: In Week 9, he became the first player in NFL history with three passing touchdowns and at least 150 rushing yards in the same game. In Week 10, he became the first player in NFL history with two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and at least 100 rushing yards in a game.
The quarterback seems to have a bright future even if the Bears' future might not be so bright with the team possibly being eliminated from division title contention this weekend.