Things have been going badly for the Chicago Bears ever since they lost Jay Cutler to a broken and dislocated thumb back in Week 11, with each loss finding punctuation in a further descent down the league power rankings across the web. Teams like the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons haven't always made it look pretty, but at least they have been able to throw together a few wins along the way. Caleb Hanie and the Bears can't buy a break, with the lone exception of a positive prognosis for Johnny Knox after his brutal back injury in Week 15.
It has been nothing but bad news for a team that was once riding high in the catbird seat back in their Week 11 victory. Although they are mathematically alive in the playoff race, nobody in Chicago believes they have a chance to make the tournament. Here is a bit of their eulogy from SB Nation Chicago's Ricky O'Donnell:
The Bears were close, and that's why it hurts. Not on Sunday, mind you, even if they actually led by a touchdown at halftime. Success in the NFL requires an equal mix of skill, strategy and good fortune, and for the first 10 games, the Bears had it all. Then down went Jay Cutler with a season-ending thumb injury against the Chargers, followed the next week by another season-ending injury to running back and team MVP Matt Forte. Just like that, football season in Chicago was over, as if there was ever any hope to begin with. This is a pain that not even 1,000 lbs. of pot and 10 kilos of blow can cure. The Bears had a chance in 2011, and it was whisked away ruthlessly without even the slightest hint at sympathy.
Now it's time to find out exactly how far the experts have pushed the Bears down this week. One thing is for sure, they will be looking up at NFC playoff teams.
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.