The Chicago Bears fan base doesn’t have much to look forward to the rest of the season, outside of one thing. They can control their top draft picks in 2023. Everyone is focused on the 1st round pick for obvious reasons. A bad enough record and a Denver win over the last four weeks could give them the #2 overall pick. However, attention is also paid to the 2nd round. Having traded their own to Pittsburgh for Chase Claypool, the Bears are at the mercy of the Baltimore Ravens to determine how high they go on Day 2.
Things haven’t been great over the past few weeks as the team has won six of its last seven. An injury to star quarterback Lamar Jackson, however, threatened to derail that momentum. Certainly, the Cleveland Browns took advantage Saturday afternoon, beating their division rivals 13-3 in a defensive slugfest. The loss drops Baltimore to 9-5 and control of the No. 5 playoff spot. There’s no reason to panic just yet, but catching them on a postseason berth is no longer a safe bet.
Both the Chargers and Jets are 7-6 and not far off the pace. New England is also 7-6. One wrong move and they could be out of the playoffs entirely now that Cincinnati controls the division.
The Chicago Bears can take advantage of every break they can get.
Baltimore isn’t known for breaking them up often. John Harbaugh is a fantastic coach and he usually finds a way to get his team to the finish line. Their remaining three games will be against Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The first two should be wins because the Falcons and Steelers are not good teams right now. However, if the Ravens slip up against one of them, the finale against the Bengals could decide their season. Missing the playoffs would have Chicago struggling closer to the middle of the 2nd round.
Much of that depends on Jackson. His absence is sorely felt in Baltimore’s offense. They failed to break the 20-point mark in any game when he went down. Their defense may have been bad, but so was Cleveland’s, and they didn’t seem to struggle to stop the Ravens. If Jackson can’t go, the margin for error shrinks painfully. The Chicago Bears can respect their counterparts in the East. That doesn’t mean they’ll be cheering them on Sundays for the rest of this year.