Possible Playoff Scenarios

By winning the NFC Central the Bears assured themselves of a first round bye. Coming out of the off week there are three possible teams Chicago would host at Soldier Field.

If Philadelphia beats Tampa Bay at home then the Bears would play the Eagles. However, if the Bucs defeat the Eagles then they would travel to St. Louis a second round match up. Leaving the San Francisco and Green Bay winner with a trip to Chicago.

"Whether it's Green Bay, San Fran or Philadelphia we will be ready to play," said Bears quarterback Jim Miller. The Bears are familiar with the both the Packers and 49ers. Chicago defeated San Francisco 37-31 (Oct. 28) in overtime. However, the Bears didn't fare as well against their rivals to the north. Green Bay outscored Chicago 37-19 in defeating them twice.

Despite what the players might say there is little doubt the Bears wouldn't mind seeing Green Bay again with a chance to beat the team that has handed them two of their three losses.

The week off will help the Bears heal several nagging injuries including Walt Harris' sprained ankle, which kept him from playing in the season finale. Larry Whigham missed the last two games of the regular season with a hamstring injury. Rex Tucker went down against the Jaguars with a pulled calf muscle.

"It's nice to have this bye week," Miller said. "We will get guys healed up and stay focussed on what our goals are." Which at this point seem to be nothing less than a Super Bowl victory.

"It was our goal going into the year was to the win the central (division) and win the Super Bowl, but win the central first," said Bears receiver D'Wayne Bates. " We accomplished one (of our goals) and now we've got a one game season.

The Bears 12-0 mark when they score 13 or more points would indicate the team is built for close low scoring games. Chicago's solid defense and ball control type offense will allow them to stay in practically any game. The Bears biggest margin of defeat was 11 points in the season opener at Baltimore (17-6).

"In order to succeed in the playoff, you've got to play like a team, which we have been doing," said Bears head coach Dick Jauron. "You can't make the big mistakes. It's not significantly different than any game you play. You can't have a lot of penalties in any game and expect to win. You can't turn the ball over. So we've got to play our kind of football and hope we get the ball to bounce in out direction."

The bottom line is no team in the NFC is unbeatable. Chicago is in the playoffs and they have a shot to win at least one game at home and from there it gets a bit more complicated if the Bears have to go on the road. However, both of the Rams losses this season have been at home. The Bears are 6-2 on the road and 3-0 in domes, so there might be hope the Bears can win in the Trans World Dome.

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