A Lot at Stake

The Bears look to open the second half of the season with a victory over a 49ers squad in the middle of a rebuilding project. While players and coaches have tried to play the politically correct game of saying any given Sunday anything can happen, a victory today is an absolute must.

Despite ranking last in the NFL on offense and defense, San Francisco has played a much tougher schedule than the Bears. Today's game marks the eight out of nine that have been against teams with a record of .500 or better. The Bears have faced only two opponents in the same category.

Still all any team can do is play the teams on their schedule.

While the Bears have yet to beat a team with a winning record, if they keep doing that they'll be in the postseason. Beating the 49ers would give the Chicago a five-game winning streak and extreme confidence heading into their biggest test of the season, a matchup with the Carolina Panthers.

As strange as it may sound, the Bears should not only win the NFC North in a cakewalk, but could have a chance for a first round bye and an outside shot at home field advantage.

The Giants, Seahawks, Panthers and Falcons are all 6-2, but have obstacles in their path.

The NFC East is tough enough that the Giants will lose some games in the division during the second half. The Panthers and Falcons will square off twice in the final five games of the season. The Bears will face both teams, but each meeting will come at Soldier Field. Seattle has road games against the Giants and Eagles, as well as hosting the Colts.

Conversely a loss would not only drop the Bears to 5-4, as well as creep doubt into the minds of players. Momentum is big from Sunday to Sunday and it's definitely with the Bears at this point.

There is a good chance the Vikings will drop their road tilt against the Giants, which would put them at 3-6. The Lions have a winnable game at home vs. the Arizona Cardinals, but the sweep of Detroit still has them three games behind the Bears.

Even people inside the organization are surprised at the plight of the division. With that in mind, the goals have to be adjusted. Wining the North crown should be a given, dropping a decision against the 49ers would be a major setback in that quest and what appears to be the possibility of much more in the wide open NFC race.


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