LAKE FOREST – Using the term “roller coaster” is cliché, but one can’t deny it doesn’t fit the Chicago Bears in the year 2020.
Less than three weeks ago, the team blew a ten-point lead in the final four minutes to a Lions team that was in their first game with an interim head coach. Postseason mentions were countered with Jim Mora’s ‘Playoffs!?!” rant videos as they team had just lost their sixth-straigth game.
Now, before the 2020 calendar year even ends, Matt Nagy’s team has their fate in their own hands. This is 2020.
The 49ers’ 20-12 surprise win over the Cardinals has now put them even with the Bears at 7-7 on the season. Due to tiebreakers, all the Bears need to do is defeat the Jaguars on Sunday and the Packers in the season finale to clinch a playoff spot.
Even if the Bears drop a game, they’d still be in should the Cardinals lose their season finale against the Rams in Week 17.
Considering where the team was just a few weeks back, it’s quite an achievement for the team to be in playoff position, let alone to control their own destiny to make the postseasons. Yet it’s fair to point out that they still have to take care of business on the field, something they hadn’t done until two week ago.
The first challenge is one that figures to be one of their lesser ones during the 2020 season, because even their midseason struggles are nothing compared to what the Jaguars have been going through. After a Week 1 win over the Colts, the team has lost 13-straigth games with a decimated defense and an offense that has turned to Bears’ castoff Mike Glennon to lead them on Sunday.
Rockford and former Illinois State running back James Robinson, who has rushed for over 1,000 yards this season, is out with an ankle injury. That along with a defense that’s 30 in points and 32nd in yards allowed a game, the Bears will have no shortage of confidence heading into the game.
Yet there is the natural pause to get too overconfident, and there is recent evidence why. The winless New York Jets stunned likely playoff bound Los Angeles last Sunday and the struggling Bengals knocked off the Steelers on Monday of this past week.
“We know that anybody can beat anybody on any Sunday,” said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky when asked about a possible letdown after two-straight wins. “My goal for this week again is to have another great week of practice, improve on offense, defense, and special teams, across the board, and make sure we’re getting better as a whole team, and then go put it all on the line on Sunday.
“At this point, we need everyone anyway, so it doesn’t matter who we’re playing or what the other team’s other record is. We’ve got to show up, play our game, and play really well, and take care of business.”