The Bears will need a win to stay in contention and a chance for home field advantage for at least one postseason game. Allowing the Pack to advance two games ahead of them with two games to play would eliminate them from the Division race. That would spell trouble for the Bears, who are 3-3 on the road versus 5-2 at home so far.
Chicago faces Arizona and Detroit on the road after their huge matchup with the Packers. The Packers final two games come against the Titans and Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Vikings, still very much alive at 7-6, would have a tough time pulling ahead. They get the Rams this weekend, but face Houston on the road before closing the season with the Packers at home.
Line it all up and you have the following scenarios for Sunday’s games:
Packers and Vikings win:
- Green Bay would ice the division and look to gain home field advantage from there.
- A loss to the Packers would be bad for the Bears, but it wouldn’t sink them. They’d have the same record as Minnesota—and, therefore, would be equally present in the Wild Card hunt. But they have easier matchups in Weeks 16 and 17. Even if they lose on Sunday, we still might see Chicago in the playoffs.
- The Vikings would tie the Bears in the division, though that doesn’t really matter since Green Bay would already have won it. More importantly, the Vikings would find themselves with a good shot at a wild card spot. Even with a W against the Rams, though, they’ll likely have to win out against Houston and Green Bay while fighting off a number of other solid NFC teams for two playoff spots. That’s a tall order, though Adrian Peterson might just be up to the challenge. A Vikings loss to the Rams would end their season.
Bears and Vikings win:
- This would make things very interesting. The Packers and Bears would be even at 9-5 with a split in the season series. The Packers would be 4-1 in-division with a division matchup with the Vikings remaining. The Bears would be 3-2 against division opponents with a trip to Detroit still left. Record in the division is the second tie-breaker, after head-to-head matchup, for a division title.
- Chicago and Green Bay would have winnable games to end the season, so this would really come down to the wire. Chicago having to go on the road for both of their games probably puts them in a slightly worse situation, but they have an easier schedule than Green Bay does in the final two weeks.
- Meanwhile, again, the Vikings would remain in the playoff chase with a pretty steep hill to climb. And, again, a loss to the Rams would spell the end of a surprisingly successful Vikings season.
As always, the playoff picture is extremely foggy here in Week 15. Sunday’s matchup with the Packers and Bears should help to clear things up.