Bears

Where do the Bears stand in the NFC wild-card race entering Week 11?

Where do the Bears stand in the NFC wild-card race entering Week 11?

It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Bears' playoff hopes weren't supposed to be a statistical improbability entering Week 11. Chicago wasn't supposed to be the first destination mentioned for every veteran quarterback likely to be available in the offseason, and Eddie Jackson wasn't supposed to still be searching for his first turnover almost three months into the season.

Chicago's odds of making the playoffs aren't good entering Sunday night's game against the Rams. They're terrible, actually, as the Bears have around a 5 percent chance at a postseason berth. Put another way, there's a 95 percent chance the season is already over. Ouch.

But that's why they play the game, right? 

Why are the Bears' chances so low? First, they have no shot at winning the NFC North. The Packers are 7-2 and rolling. Chicago is 3.5 games behind with only seven games to play. Green Bay would need to suffer a historic collapse coupled with Mitch Trubisky playing like an MVP candidate for that to happen. Neither is within the realm of possibility.

As a result, Chicago's only opportunity is the wild card, and with the way the NFC West is playing right now, there's really only one spot up for grabs. The 49ers (8-1) and Seahawks (8-2) have complicated things for the rest of the conference. The second-place team in the NFC West will have a better record than the division winner in the NFC East.

The second and final wild-card spot is currently held by the Vikings (7-3). The Bears defeated Minnesota in Week 4, so in theory, they're only 1.5 games back. They'll face off against each other again in Week 17, which at this rate, could (if everything goes perfectly) be for a trip to the postseason. 

In order for the Bears' season finale to have that kind of meaning, several teams in front of them have to fall on hard times. The Cowboys (5-4), Rams (5-4) and Panthers (5-4) are all one game ahead and the next-best threats to the Vikings. 

The good news? The Bears do have some control over their own destiny. When factoring Week 17's game against Minnesota, they play three of the four teams slotted ahead of them in the wild-card race over their final seven games. 

It all begins with Sunday night's do-or-die game against the Rams. A win evens the Bears' record at 5-5 with two beatable opponents in Weeks 12 and 13 (Giants and Lions.) If their record is 7-5 entering the final quarter of the season, get your popcorn ready. The quest for the playoffs will be full speed ahead. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Devin Hester one of six specialists to make the NFL 100 All-Time Team

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USA TODAY

Devin Hester one of six specialists to make the NFL 100 All-Time Team

The NFL 100 All-Time Team just got a serious influx of speed and athleticism. Former Bears' legend and arguably the greatest special teams player of all time, Devin Hester, was named to the squad on Friday.

Hester played with the Bears from 2006 to 2013, racking up an incredible 31 return touchdowns (18 on kick returns, 13 on punt returns). Over his 11 season career, Hester collected a total of 11,028 return yards between kick and punt returns. Hester made four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams over his career. 

The 2006 No. 57 overall pick out of Miami (FL) dazzled from the start of his NFL career, collecting 1,128 combined punt/kick return yards and 5 touchdowns. 

But just as impressive as his overall effectiveness, was his penchant for rising to the moment. Hester's clutch moments included an 80+ yard punt return for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the infamous, "They are who we thought they were game".

And, of course, all NFL fans remember how Hester became the first player in NFL history to take the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl back to the house for a touchdown. 

Hester was a shoo-in to make the NFL 100 All-Time Team, as he is the NFL's all-time leader in kick and punt return touchdowns but even, so his game was about so much more than just the numbers. 

Devin Hester's unparalleled combination of speed and creativity in the open field delighted NFL fans in a way that perhaps no other player in history did or ever will. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

 

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears win again as they trounce the Cowboys

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears win again as they trounce the Cowboys

Sam Panayotovick and Seth Gruen join Kap on the show.

0:00 - The Bears win again as they trounce the Cowboys. So did Mitch Trubisky save his job or was it just one good game?

12:00 - The Bulls look for their third straight win with the Warriors in town. Plus, Sam gives out his best bets for the weekend as the guys preview the college football conference title games.

17:00 - Comedian Steve Rannazzisi joins Kap to talk about the dumpster fire that is his Knicks. Plus Kap thanks his Giants for helping turn the Bears season around.

Listen to the full podcast here r via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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