There are five weeks left in the NFL season, and just about anything can happen, especially in this oddball year where there are no truly dominant teams ("On Any Given Sunday", yada yada). The Bears seem in the driver's seat, leading the NFC North by a game over the Packers, but where will they end up and who's going where?
Let's start by playing "If The Season Ended Today". The current NFC division leaders are the Falcons, Bears, Eagles and Rams, and the Saints and Giants are the wild cards. Yes, that's right -- the Rams, at 5-6, would be NFC West champions if there were no more games. The Seahawks, at 5-6, and the 49ers, believe it or not, at 4-7, still have a shot at winning that woeful division.
In the AFC, the Jets, Ravens, Chiefs and Jaguars (another mediocre team at 6-5) are the division leaders and the Patriots and Steelers currently lead the wild card -- that gives us the bizarre possibility that a 9-2 team might be the visitor to a 6-5 team in the first round.
The Bears, obviously, will qualify for the playoffs if they win out, but that's not necessarily an easy task. They have games against the Jets and Patriots, both 9-2; those are both at Soldier Field, but those teams appear better than the Eagles. The Bears play the Packers to finish the season on Jan. 2, and that could wind up deciding a couple of playoff positions -- both the NFC North and a wild card. The Packers and Giants are both 7-4, but the Giants currently hold the tiebreaker.
As of now, 28 teams are technically "still alive" -- only the Bills, Bengals, Lions and Panthers are officially eliminated. Stick with this SB Nation Chicago StoryStream™ through the NFL regular season's last five weeks for updates on playoff positioning for the Bears and other teams.