With the holidays upon it, the NFL’s regular season is about to wrap up as 14 teams will prepare for the postseason. The Chicago Bears just might be one of those teams — if all goes right.
After a six-game losing streak, the Bears have found a way to play themselves back into a position where they can make the playoffs for the first time in two years. Which certainly makes things exciting heading into these final two weeks.
So in the holiday spirit, here are six things we’re asking Santa for the Bears as they head into the remainder of the 2020 season.
A return to the playoffs
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Despite a six-game losing streak, the Bears are still in the mix for a wild card spot in the NFC playoffs. While winning out in their final two games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers is necessary, Chicago is going to need some help along the way from a pair of NFC West teams. The Bears will make the playoffs if they win out and the Arizona Cardinals lose one of their final two games against the San Francisco 49ers or Los Angeles Rams. While Chicago is indeed “in the hunt” heading into these final two weeks, they’re going to need some help.
A win over the Packers in Week 17
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There’s still a way for the Bears to make the playoffs if they lose their Week 17 contest against the Green Bay Packers — as long as Arizona loses both of their final games. But even if that is the case, there would be nothing quite like beating the Packers to get into the postseason. There could be a scenario where Chicago doesn’t have to face Aaron Rodgers, as Green Bay has a chance to lock up that No. 1 seed — and a first-round bye — ahead of Week 17.
Continued success for the offense
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Chicago’s offense has been one of the best units in the NFL over the last few weeks, where they’ve looked the best they have in two years under Matt Nagy. That has a lot to do with how Nagy has adapted his offense to fit his players — and making the decision to hand over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and reinstate Mitchell Trubisky as the team’s starting quarterback. The Bears offense finally has an identity, which starts with running the football with David Montgomery and utilizing Trubisky’s mobility. Chicago has averaged 31 points per game over the last four weeks, and they have a chance to end the season on a positive note in these final two weeks.
For the defense to return to form
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The Bears defense has been the one constant with this team throughout Nagy’s tenure as head coach. But they’ve stumbled a bit over the last month, where they’re allowing 28.8 points per game during that span after being one of the better defenses earlier in the season. Say Chicago does win out and manages to squeak into the playoffs. The Bears aren’t going to go far if their defense doesn’t clean things up. Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano needs to do a better job scheming against opposing offenses, and the big-name players that are getting paid big-time bucks need to step up heading into the final two weeks of the regular season — and potentially the postseason.
Sign Allen Robinson to an extension
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One of the big mysteries of life remains how the Bears still haven’t signed receiver Allen Robinson to a contract extension, especially considering the success he’s had since his arrival in Chicago. Robinson has put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, which is made all the more impressive considering how terrible the Bears’ offense has been during that time. There were talks of extending Robinson earlier this season, but both sides couldn’t agree to terms. The Bears could certainly place the franchise or transition tag on Robinson to keep him in Chicago through 2021, but the ideal situation would be to lock him up long-term. But the 2021 salary cap situation certainly complicates matters.
All-Pro nod for Roquan Smith
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One of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs this season was Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith, who hasn’t just been having a Pro Bowl year but an All-Pro season. Smith ranks second in solo tackles and tackles-for-loss, as well as fourth in the league in total tackles and has four sacks. There’s no doubt that Smith deserves the recognition for his 2020 campaign, which has showed that he’s the future at linebacker for the Bears.
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