There are three possible outcomes for the Chicago Bears over the next six days. (I’m ruling out ties, which I may come to regret by the end of next week.) Each outcome brings with it a very specific emotional trajectory for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Outcome #1 – The Sweep
Emotional Outcome: JUICE!
If the Bears win their next two games, they move to 5-6 and put a significant amount of juice into the remainder of the regular season. The six seed in the NFC is a 5-4, quarterback-less Saints team. The seven seed just made Cam Newton their starter.
The juice would start at Soldier Field, on December 5th, against the Arizona Cardinals. Justin vs. Kyler. A fired up building on the lakefront. Christmas only 20 days away!
It is highly unlikely Matt Nagy can still earn his way back onto the sideline for 2022, but the only way that conversation can start is by winning these next two, while Justin Fields progresses.
Outcome #2 – The Shutout
Emotional Outcome: MAKE IT STOP.
The McCaskey family is opposed to firing coaches in-season, with Marc Trestman pushing them as close to the line as they’d ever come. That year, what prevented them from making the move was their desire to clean house – removing Trestman and GM Phil Emery – and they thought it best to make both moves once the season ended.
But if the Bears fall to 3-8, including a loss on Thanksgiving to an awful and untalented Lions team, the outcry may be too great to ignore. Nagy will have lost the fans, and the locker room. With a new, two-week, regular season interview period open for head coaches, ownership may see no reason to leave Nagy in the job for a meaningless month.
And that’s all the remainder of the schedule would be: meaningless. The results would not matter, not even artificially. All that would matter is a few highlights from Fields and the development of young talent like Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Larry Borom and – hopefully – Teven Jenkins. December and early January become de facto preseason games.
Outcome #3 – The Split
Emotional Outcome: EH.
Isn’t this what every fan expects? Be relevant, or be terrible. The problem with the Bears under Nagy – since the end of the 2018 season – is they’ve been neither.