With only three games left in the 2011 NFL regular season, the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys are all fighting for two Wildcard spots. While the Cowboys and Giants can still fight over the NFC division crown as well, the Bears, Lions and Falcons are left with only the Wildcard as a viable option.
The Bears are on the outside of the playoffs if it started today, and that is only slightly more alarming that how bad the team has been playing of late. Tebow Time reared it's head to sink the Bears in Week 14, and although I recently wrote about just how easy it would be to take Tebow Time away, it's too late for Chicago to get it right. Caleb Hanie has been just as bad as Kyle Orton thought he would be, so the Bears have their work cut out for them in the final three weeks. Here's how the current standings break down in the NFC:
|NFC Playoff Standings|
|1. Green Bay Packers||North (Clinched)||13||0||0|
|2. San Francisco 49ers||West (Clinched)||10||3||0|
|3. New Orleans Saints (Playoff Berth Clinched)||South||10||3||0|
|4. New York Giants||East||7||6||0|
|5. Atlanta Falcons||South||8||5||0|
|6. Detroit Lions||North||8||5||0|
The Giants currently hold the tie-breaker over the Cowboys for beating them in head-to-head play, but the teams meet once more this season in Week 17. The Falcons hold a head-to-head tie breaker over the Detroit Lions. The Chicago Bears are ahead of the Cowboys by virtue of a better record against conference opponents (6-3 vs. 5-4). The Seahawks hold a head-to-head edge over the Cardinals as well.
Here is a quick look at the last three games for the top contenders:
- Chicago Bears: vs. SEA, at GB, at MIN
- Atlanta Falcons: vs. JAX, at NO, vs. TB
- Detroit Lions: at OAK, vs SD, at GB
- Dallas Cowboys: at TB, vs PHI, at NYG
- New York Giants: vs WAS, at NYJ, vs DAL
Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Chicago Bears be sure to visit Windy City Gridiron. Visit SB Nation NFL for more news and notes around the league.