Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
You guys went at it pretty well while debating a question with no easy answer: Which NFC North team, Chicago or Green Bay, has a better chance to make the playoffs?
(You were especially nice about the typos in the schedule charts, which I’ve republished -- in corrected form -- below. Appreciate your patience.)
I can’t say there was a consensus here. But those of you who chose the Packers as the likeliest postseason team built your argument around their schedule. Fayld wrote: “While I think the Bears are the better team, I think the Packers have one more game that they ‘should’ win easily along with a game against the Cardinals that might feature a Cardinals team resting its starters. Bucs, Lions, and Seahawks are all poor teams where the Bears only have two ‘cupcakes’ left in Detroit and St. Louis.”
AZ_Vikings_Fan, not surprisingly, noted “Chicago’s schedule is tougher because they still have to play the Vikings twice. ... Even if they happen to get lucky and split the Vikings series they only have 9 wins. If they win a game I thought they'd lose they will have 10 wins but probably have less conference wins.”
Some of you believe there is more to a schedule than simply the strength of opponents. Wrote Kacimlangford: “The Bears have most of their tougher games at home. That gives them an edge.” Kacimlangford added: “The Bears match up better with the teams they play than the Packers.”
RedVespa has no doubt:
It will be Chicago, and here's why: My Bears will beat Green Bay, Philly, and San Francisco. Oh, and they'll win against the Cardinals as well. I predict a split with Minnesota. Call me overly optimistic if you like, but I see the naysayers shutting up as the Bears cruise through November and into December delivering what they should.
We don’t have to call you overly optimistic, RedVespa. You did it for us. I thought adambballn offered a more measured view:
I think we'll find out a lot about the Bears this weekend. Was the Cincinnati game a fluke like the Raiders beating the Eagles or were the Bears exposed? If the Bears defense plays to its capabilities and Ron Turner figures out how to turn into an offensive coordinator all of a sudden, the Bears have the talent to make the playoffs. Remember they could just as easily be 6-1 as they are 4-3. ... Vasher slips and Jennings scores a game winning touchdown and Forte fumbling 2 times on the goal line. … That's the difference between 4-3 and 6-1.
Only a handful of you believe both teams will advance to the postseason, as many of us once thought was a distinct possibility. Here’s how titiritero83 sees it: "The NFC West isn't good enough to send a wildcard. The NFC East teams beat each other up, and only Philly looks like a real contender there anyhow. The Saints have pretty much already won the NFC South and Atlanta looks to be just as inconsistent as the Bears and Packers have been."
My take? I got about halfway through this post when I realized how hard it is to make this kind of call in early November. I think I’m the guy, after all, who declared the Packers best-equipped to win the division around midseason last year.
But that’s all part of the fun, I suppose. So here goes: I say the Bears. I arrived at that call with very little scientific analysis. In fact, I took an intentionally quick glance through each team’s schedule and came up with four victories for Green Bay and six for Chicago. If anything, the Bears’ home schedule -- including three in December -- probably swayed me.
Will 10-6 get the Bears into the playoffs? I have to guess it will, but stranger things have happened. Either way, I see the second half of the season set up better for them than it is for the Packers. Thanks for playing.