(MCT) — Right around Halloween, the Bears were dressed up as a puffy-chested NFC playoff team with just one loss, most assuredly headed for the postseason party.
Now, with just two games remaining, the Bears’ once-solid playoff chances have become really, really scary.
“In my very, very worst nightmare, this is where I imagined we would be,” Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs said Thursday. “Literally, this is my worst nightmare. We still have a chance, though. It can’t get any worse than this, I hope.”
The Bears (8-6) may need hope and prayer to make the playoffs. But first they must take care of their own business on the road and beat the Cardinals on Sunday and the Lions on Dec. 30.
Somehow it all unraveled in almost inexplicable fashion for the Bears after a 7-1 start. A maddeningly inept offense, key injuries, costly penalties, poor execution and technique ... the litany of on-field indiscretions seems impossible when considering their once-lofty perch. Now the Bears need help from other teams, as well a couple of victories.
“We don’t have time to be frustrated. We don’t have time to be concerned about the things that have happened already,” Briggs said. “Our biggest concern right now is beating Arizona. It’s all on the line right now.”
At least the Bears won’t have to worry about their fans booing them at Soldier Field the next two weeks.
Brian Urlacher and Briggs caused a stir earlier in the week when they each publicly derided Bears fans.
On Thursday at Halas Hall, Briggs was asked again about his perception of the proper relationship between fans and players.
“Fans are fans, you know, and fans pay their ticket to see a football game ... it’s well within their rights to boo, cheer, cry, laugh ... do whatever feelings that come to them,” Briggs said. “As players, we go out, we play and we have every right to be happy, sad, upset, pissed off, and with the way social media works now everyone gets to find out how you feel more often than probably years past. That’s just the way it works.”
The Cardinals (5-9) had lost nine straight before whacking the Lions 38-10 Sunday with an opportunistic defense. But the Bears are in no position to take any opponent lightly.
“I see a team that has some explosive backs,” Bears defensive end Corey Wootton said. “They definitely have gotten better as the season has gone on. They’re doing more with their passing attack.
“It’s definitely tough the way we started out the season and what it has come down to now. But these are ‘must win’ games for us to make the playoffs.”