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Riding low on a two-game losing streak, the Bears head into the second half of the season searching for ways to make a playoff push plausible.
I've spent countless hours breaking down the near limitless ways that the NFC playoff picture can shake out over the remainder of the year.
Now I don't want to get too technical, but mathematically speaking, the season has eight games remaining.
So, let's see. Eight divided by four, carry the one, compensate for wind variance . . .
Ah, here we go. The Bears will have to win eight games to get back in the playoff picture.
For those of you who don't have the ability to limbo under bullets*, I've distilled the complicated algorithms needed to see the possibilities of the multiverse into step-by step-instructions (see Figure A).
Even though it's only the next three games, I know that's a lot to take in. So let's break this thing down.
Step 1: Beat Green Bay Packers.
Shea McClellin may have unlocked the secret to exposing the Packers' weak underbelly last year.
In order to beat the Packers, the Bears will have to injure Aaron Rodgers, assuming of course that he doesn't pull a lat laughing at Chicago's Week 8 game film.
In order to beat the cheesy menace to the North, the Bears will have take drastic measures including (but not limited to) running the ball effectively, playing solid defense and tackling well on special teams.
Ha ha ha ha ha! I know, I know.
You let it slide when I suggested that all Bears tight ends between Emery Moorehead and Greg Olsen were cursed by Davy Jones and swept out to sea to become food for the Kraken (I'm not kidding) but this one's a bridge too far.
Anyway, are bounties frowned upon more or less than beating loved ones? I'm asking for a friend. Who works for the, uh, NLF. The Not League of Footmasons.
They're super secret. Shut up.
If that extreme hypothetical doesn't pan out, maybe we could convince Rodgers to that he's scheduled to play in an empty stadium with the Monopoly guy's brother**.
Step 2: Beat Minnesota Vikings.
Hard to believe that the Bears are looking up at this team in the standings, but to be fair Minnesota has already had a crack at the Bucs, who are currently playing the part of nature's cure to pessimism.
Worse yet, there's a chance that our old pal Purple Jesus (You Beat The Shit Out Of That Kid) might be back on the field week after next.
If Peterson doesn't play, the Bears strategy should focus on forcing Teddy Bridgewater to beat them downfield instead of FRIGGING LETTING HIM SCRAMBLE FOR 26 DAMN YARDS, YOU HAD HIM IN THE BACKFIELD I'M TALKING TO YOU ALLEN!!!
Sorry. Had some prescient anger sweep over me for a minute there. Where were we?
Step 3: Murder Chris Conte And Replace Him With A Pod Replica Who Even Its Semi-Sentient State Has Noticeably More Field Awareness Than Chris Conte.
Let's move on; I've said too much.
Step 4: Beat Tampa Bay Bucs.
If I've learned anything about this year's squad and know anything about the knocks on Lovie Smith's game-day approach, it's that the Bucs will be leading the Bears by three at halftime, which will ultimately play right into our*** hands.
Ah yes. Halftime adjustments - Lovie's only weakness.
Well, along with recruiting offensive coordinators, using challenge flags, quarterback selection . . .
The point is this: if a win against the Buccaneers isn't a foregone conclusion, then we should just go ahead and write this year off entirely.
Sort of like Week 1 against the Bills.
Kool Aid (5 of 5 - Lakefront Indian Black Ale)
If you like a hoppy, dark, full flavor brew that makes five-and-halfs turn into sevens, then I recommend this regional offering.
So, we meet again in an absolutely must-win game, you ugly pricks.
If the Bears fall to 3-6 the season is effectively over.
With the exceptions of Kyle Fuller, Kyle Long and Kyle The Bear**** we're not dealing with a young core of players who are working through the growing pains. The majority of this squad is a group of high-upside veterans paid to perform.
So let's set aside some time on Sunday night to witness these guys do their jobs.
By the third quarter, it may not be as satisfying as, say, watching an actuary work their magic, but I'm holding out hope that there is enough talent and motivation to be slightly more exciting than that.
Emotional chips, let me introduce you to my friend Table Middle by way of pushing you into to him.
Bears 30, Packers 28.
* Ugh, I'm not talking about Jamaicans, doofus, I'm talking about Keanu Reeves.
** No name more synonymous with winning in the sports world than a franchise named "the Generals," eh, insurance company with a $17 marketing budget?
*** Yes "our," not "their" or "Chicago's" or "the football team that plays next to the lake named after a mitten shaped state." Thanks to a strict regimen of cake and beer, I'm up to my fighting weight and will be challenging Shea McClellin for the Will linebacker spot. Also I ate a 18x6 pan of edibles and watched Invincible on cable the other day. Mark Wahlberg ate beef jerky every day to train for that role, right?
**** Oh sure, she looks wholesome, but Barry's ex is a colossal bitch. You want a divorce, fine. And you know what else, withholding sex for seven months from a mature male over a bee hive argument leads to bear adultery. It just does. I'm not excusing it, but you can't ice a dork out like that and expect good things to happen. The guy was going to crack eventually. But where do you get off fleeing to a state that doesn't recognize the term "father's rights" and fill a kid's head with lies about his father for 20 years and still have the audacity to blame Barry for the "lack" of a relationship with his son. Screw you, lady bear. The good news is that Harry's promotion from the practice squad has given the two of them time to bond on Sundays.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.