3 major implications Sunday’s Bears-Packers game holds

3 major implications Sunday’s Bears-Packers game holds originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Outside of playing in one of the NFL’s most coveted, historic rivalries, the Bears have several items to play for against the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Here are the three major implications Sunday’s Bears-Packers game holds.

Packers playoff chances

The Packers decide their fate for the playoffs against the Bears in Week 18. Win that game? They’re going to the postseason. Lose that game? They need several things to happen to make it.

That means a Bears win over the Packers nearly shatters their playoff chances. Here’s what the Packers need from the rest of the league if they fall to the Bears on Sunday.

  • Vikings lose to the Lions

  • Cardinals defeat the Seahawks

  • One of two:

    • Saints lose to Falcons

    • Buccaneers lose to Panthers

Need I write about how much a Bears playoff-shattering win over the Packers would mean to the city? I don’t think so.

Let’s move on.

Bears 2024 opponents

Three of the Bears’ 2024 opponents depend on how the Bears finish against the Packers and where they finish in the NFC North.

The Bears have a chance to take over the third spot in the NFC North, climbing over the Vikings. If the Bears win and the Vikings lose, the Bears will finish third in the division behind the Lions and Packers. That means they’ll face the third-place team in the NFC East, NFC South and AFC East.

If they finish last, however, they’ll play against the last-place teams in the aforementioned divisions. That means games against either the Giants/Commanders, the Panthers and the Patriots. If they win and the Vikings lose they’ll face one of the Giants/Commanders, the Saints/Falcons and the Jets.

The rest of the opponents include the teams in the NFC West (Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, 49ers) and the teams in the AFC South (Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Colts). And, of course, they’ll play two games against the Lions, Packers and Vikings.

Obviously, a last-place finish in the division offers an easier schedule — in theory — for next season. But a win knocks the Packers out of the playoffs, gives the Bears momentum going into the offseason and potentially makes for an easier decision in the next point.

Justin Fields‘ future

This whole season has been about Fields’ development.

Sadly, a thumb injury leaving the Bears signal caller out four weeks threw a wrench in his evaluation. Now, the Bears will only get 13 games from this season to weigh in on their decision of whether or not to keep him.

Sunday’s game is one of those games. And the last one of the season. If Fields leads the Bears to a victory over their rival Packers, while ruining their playoff chances, Bears fans will only be able to see him with a cape on.

“I think it’s the biggest game of your life,” Kyle Brandt said on Good Morning Football. “I think it’s a bigger game for the Bears than it is for the Packers. Green Bay wins, it determines their next few weeks. Chicago wins, it determines their next few years. [If] you win, it determines your entire career.”

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