If readers are still holding out postseason hope for the 7-6 Bears, they’ll be disappointed to learn that Thursday night’s outstanding win over the Dallas Cowboys, solely for intents and purposes of the playoff picture, essentially never happened.
With victories Sunday for the division-leading Packers, current No. 2 wild card Vikings and top wild-card challenging Rams, the Bears’ postseason odds, as calculated by FiveThirtyEight, still are 3 percent — same as entering Week 14.
Add in a buzzer-beater field goal off the right foot of franchise scoring leader PK Robbie Gould to clinch perhaps the Game of the Year in New Orleans for the current No. 5 seed 49ers, another dynamic day for Chicago’s seventh-round-rookie-turned-Steelers-practice-squad-poaching Kerrith Whyte, and we totally get it if Sunday pigskin left a lot to be desired for the Bears and their fan base.
It wasn’t all bad, though.
The Oakland Raiders, holders of the Bears’ first-round pick and suppliers of Chicago’s extra second-rounder, dropped their third consecutive contest, 42-21 at home to the Titans, falling to 6-7.
So the team that as recently as a month ago supposedly won the Khalil Mack trade now ranks 28th in the NFL in total defense and points allowed and 30th in passing touchdowns permitted. Oakland’s own first-rounder once again appears more valuable than the one they “stole” from Ryan Pace, and, of course, the Bears’ second-round sweetener from Jon Gruden in that deal is again currently more valuable than Pace’s own pick.
The Raiders have an easier schedule than the Bears down the stretch but are likely to be eliminated earlier from playoff contention, while their stud rookie runner, Josh Jacobs, acquired with the 24th overall pick in April via the Mack deal, is hurt. Don’t cheer the last part — Jacobs is already tremendous, unlike, say, fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell, who was held without a sack and tackle for loss for the ninth time as a Raiders rookie.
We look forward to explaining at Bears Insider throughout the final three weeks this season why making the postseason probably isn’t even the most important potential accomplishment that remains for Matt Nagy and Co. this year. From the eye-opening play of Kevin Pierre-Louis in his first extended action in place of an injured Roquan Smith, to the immense improvements of the O-line and WR corps to, of course, Mitch Trubisky and everything he still has a chance to show if he can continue perhaps his best stretch as a pro, don't lose sight of the big picture through the barely visible playoff picture.
Meantime, revel in the ruins of the Raiders, who remain a far bigger mess than the Bears nearly two full seasons after trading Khalil Mack.