Even though this was a big win, how big was it? An Optimist and Pessimist debate:
This was a season-saving win for the Chicago Bears
A loss would have put the Bears at 4-4, the Packers at 6-2, and the Detroit Lions at 5-3. Additionally, the Bears would have been behind in the head-to-head with both teams, as well as a worse divisional record. With an impending game against the Lions next week, this win, regardless of how it transpired, completely changes the landscape of the NFC North. And with the Lions, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers streaking, there is quite the crowd for those two wild card spots.
The Bears are just delaying the inevitable. The defense was once again gouged in the running game (199 yards), and Josh McCown, despite his effectiveness, isn't the quarterback Matthew Stafford or Aaron Rodgers is. With two of the most high-powered offenses in the division, the Bears will be in big trouble if they continue to scuffle on defense, no matter if their offense continues to be successful.
The Bears only won this game because Aaron Rodgers was out
Rodgers being out undeniably helped, but it wasn't like the Bears had all of their personnel going either. Eddie Lacy presumably runs for similar numbers if Rodgers is in the game and the Bears' offensive efficiency had little to do with Rodgers' injury. The defensive line was finally able to get pressure on the quarterback, Matt Forte had almost 200 all-purpose yards (124 rushing), and the Bears didn't turn the ball over. That is a formula to beat almost any team.
You're darn right they only won because Rodgers was out. You can't replace Aaron Rodgers, especially with Seneca Wallace. Rodgers being in the game would have created a trickle-down effect on the game: Rodgers is more efficient, the offense is on the field longer (along with the Bears' defense), Rodgers puts up more points, which makes the Bears play from behind and forces mistakes from McCown. Bears lose 34-17.
The Bears can win the NFC North
There is a lot of work left to do, but the win over the Packers at least gives the Bears a chance to win the division. Without this win, the Bears would have been behind the eight ball in the division as well as the wild card race. With Randall Cobb out (and possibly Aaron Rodgers for a while), the Bears sport the best receiving corps in the division and among the best in the league -- Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte -- regardless if they're starting Jay Cutler or Josh McCown. The defensive line showed life and Lance Briggs will eventually be back.
Only if Rodgers is out for a lengthy amount of time. Sure, the Bears defense can shut down Seneca Wallace. But can they shut down Rodgers or Stafford? Or what about Russell Wilson? The numbers suggest they cannot. These are quarterbacks who have put up solid-to-stellar numbers against the Bears when the Bears could stop the run, which for now they can't. With one of the wild card almost assuredly going to the Seattle Seahawks or 49ers, the Bears will be lucky to snag a wild card spot, much less the division.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Bears follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him an opportunity to closely follow Chicago sports and has allowed him to contribute to Yahoo Sports,Yahoo Voices, and various independent sports blogs. Brian is also a senior in college majoring in creative writing.
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