Can the Chicago Bears Make the Playoffs? A Look at the Path to First Overall and the Postseason

Despite 2023 struggles, the Chicago Bears, 3-1 in their last four, could make the playoffs and secure the top draft pick if Carolina keeps struggling.

The Chicago Bears haven’t had the season they’ve wanted through Week 15, sitting at 5-8 on the year. However, the season isn’t over yet.

Coming off of a 28-13 victory over the Detroit Lions, the Bears kept their playoff hopes alive. Can they still make the playoffs?

What Is the Chicago Bears’ Playoff Path?

The Bears started the 2023 season 0-4 before earning their first win against the Washington Commanders, 40-20. They went 1-3 over the next four games, leading to a 2-7 record after Week 8.

However, since Week 9, the Bears have won three of their last four games. Starting quarterback Justin Fields also returned from injury in Week 10. Since returning, Fields has passed for 609 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He has also rushed for 221 yards and one touchdown on 42 carries.

While the Lions, sitting at 9-4, are the heavy favorite to win the NFC North, the Bears still have a chance at the playoffs. According to Fox Sports, the Bears have a +2500 odds to make the playoffs.

To make the playoffs, the Bears would need to win out. In addition to that, they would need the following:

  • Minnesota Vikings losing three of their last four games
  • Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams losing at least twice each
  • Two of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons losing twice

MORE: NFL Playoff Picture Week 14

The Bears’ final four games are against the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Falcons, and Green Bay Packers. The Browns and Packers games are both away, while the Cardinals and Falcons games are at home.

Although the playoffs are unlikely, the Bears have seen a major improvement in their defense, giving them a chance. The Bears’ defense leads the NFL in yards per attempt allowed (5.5), passer rating (58.9), and interceptions (nine) over the last four weeks. The change can be in part attributed to the Montez Sweat trade in Week 8.

Could the Bears Also Have the Top Pick in the Draft?

In 2022, the Bears had the worst record at 3-14. In the offseason, they traded the first-overall pick to the Carolina Panthers in return for DJ Moore, the ninth overall pick, a 2023 second-round pick, a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2025 second-round pick. Thanks to that trade, the Bears hold the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2024.

In addition to the trade, the Bears were big spenders in free agency. With just a hair over $75 million, they signed major deals with Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, DeMarcus Walker, and Nate Davis. They also gave deals to D’Onta Foreman, Andrew Billings, Robert Tonyan, Travis Homer, and P.J. Walker.

For Carolina, they selected quarterback Bryce Young with the first-overall pick. Although they added Young, the Panthers have gone 1-12 through 14 weeks. They were officially eliminated from playoff contention in Week 13 after they fell to the Buccaneers, 18-21.

For the Bears to still hold the No. 1 pick in the draft, they would need the Panthers to continue their losing ways and finish with the worst record in the NFL. The Panthers’ final four games are against the Falcons, Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Buccaneers.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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