LAKE FOREST – If someone had told this to a fan or even the team just three weeks ago, they may not have believed it.
But on December 28th, just three weeks removed from a six-game losing streak that put them two games under .500, the Bears enter Week 17 with more than a chance to make the playoffs.
A 41-17 win over the Jaguars, which is their third in as many games, along with a loss by the Cardinals on Saturday means the Bears need just a win over the Packers to advance to the NFL Playoffs.
That’s much easier said than done with Green Bay winning a fifth-straight game over the AFC South leading Titans Sunday night 40-14 at snowy Lambeau Field. Back in November, they crushed the Bears 41-25 in Green Bay in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.
But since then, the Bears have seen a resurgence on offense, with the group becoming the first in the franchise since 1965 to score 30 or more points in a four-straight games. While not as dominant as in the recent past, the defense has come up with the plays when needed to make those offensive numbers stand out.
With the elevated stakes of the game for both teams, with the Packers needing to win to secure a first round bye, the match-up Sunday at Soldier Field is getting a new kickoff time.
The Bears and Packers will kickoff at 3:25 PM, moved later from their Noon start time, to match-up with the Cardinals-Rams game that will take place at the same time. Should the Bears lose, they could still get in the playoffs if Arizona loses to Los Angeles.
“It’s going to be huge. We know what’s at stake this weekend. We’re going to enjoy the win tonight and then start preparations tomorrow. But it just sets up for a special opportunity to finish our season strong against a rival like this,” said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. “It’s a must-win game, just like these last couple games have been, and we definitely want to play our best ball and finish strong.”
Which they’ll try to do for more than pride just three weeks removed from a six-game losing streak.