Set aside all of the speculation about Mitch Trubisky’s future, Akiem Hicks’ impact, Roquan Smith’s re-emergence, all of that stuff. Even the Dallas Cowboys for the moment.

Because the at-hand Monday Night Football game with the Minnesota Vikings in Seattle to face the strangely enigmatic Seahawks is suddenly of very vital interest to the Chicago Bears.

If Minnesota comes out of this game with a win, the playoffs are gone for the Bears. They would trail the Vikings by three games with four to play; the 2019 party may not be officially over for the Bears, but folks are putting on their coats and someone’s reaching for the light switch.

But if the Seahawks prevail, the playoff what-if’s should be in full fury after some of this past weekend’s goings-on, starting with Philadelphia (5-7) losing to Miami.

Because a defeat puts the Vikings at 8-4, comfortably ahead of the 6-6 Bears. But not as comfortably as they were a month ago.

After Seattle, Minnesota has the Lions, Chargers, Packers and Bears remaining. They draw Detroit in Minneapolis, where the Lions have improbably won three of the last five. The Chargers have inexplicably lost to the Lions but subsequently defeated the Bears and Packers on consecutive weekends, and the game with the Vikings is in L.A., where the Chargers throttled the Packers. The Vikings do get the Packers in Minneapolis where they have handled Green Bay three straight.

Which brings them to the Bears to finish the season, and a win by Chicago would be a Bears sweep of head-to-heads, and at this point the Bears (3-1) have a better division record than the Vikings (1-2).


The L.A. Rams are still a Bears tiebreaker problem at 7-5 with a head-to-head win ahead of the Bears. But the Rams are at San Francisco and at Dallas besides hosting Seattle over the next three weeks.

As far as the at-hand MNF game, the Seahawks, even with Russell Wilson having the best year of an already distinguished career, have suddenly become quirky, no longer invincible at home (3-2); no one is talking about the noisy 12th Man much anymore.

All of which only matters if the Bears continue winning, starting with Dallas Thursday. But two weeks ago the Bears stood 4-6 having lost five of their last six, and the Monday night game didn’t matter (besides, it was two AFC teams, anyway). Come to think of it, not much about the rest of 2019 seemed to matter particularly.

At least for this evening, now it does.

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