Can the Green Bay Packers Still Catch the Red-Hot Chicago Bears in NFC North?

Michael SaenzContributor IIINovember 9, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13:  Earl Bennett #80 of the Chicago Bears tries to break away from Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 13, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 23-10.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When sorting out the NFC playoff picture, it is just assumed that the Green Bay Packers will be in that group, but can they track down the quietly impressive Bears for the division title? 

Yes, looking at the schedule the Packers (6-3) have seven games left to make up for the disaster that happened in Seattle and the total letdown against the Colts. Two losses that could have colossal effects in the playoff picture for the Pack, but the easiest and simplest way to the postseason is to flat-out win the division.

A division that has been up and down all year, excluding one team—the Bears. 

The Bears have been the most consistent team, other than the Atlanta Falcons, in the NFC. Chicago is third in scoring, and second in points allowed. Stats don't lie, and since those are two of the most important after wins and losses, the Bears seem to be in a good position going forward. 

Of the eight games left on the Bears' schedule, there are four divisional games, three games against NFC West teams (Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco) and this week against Houston. 

We're going to see if the Bears are really who we thought they were, really quickly. Someone cue Dennis Green. 

Amazingly, the Bears have been dominating opponents as of late. Chicago is averaging a 14-point victory against the opposition, while scoring nearly 30 points per game. Jay Cutler has won 12 out of his last 13 starts dating back to last season, prior to his injury. Not to mention their defense has scored seven touchdowns so far this season.

In fact, the only team that has been able to extinguish them has been the Packers. But in order to catch the Bears, Green Bay is going to need some help. 

Sitting two games back in the division, as we speak, means that even if the Packers run the table in the second half of the season, they still need someone else to beat the Bears. But it's highly unlikely that either team will go undefeated the rest of the way.

Other than divisional games, the only team the Packers play with a winning record in the second half of the season is the Giants. Looking at both schedules, the Packers have the "easier" of the two on paper. 

Again I say on paper, because this is the NFL and on any given Sunday anything can happen. 

There is still plenty to be played out, and the division is still there for the taking. If the Packers can stay healthy, which is by no means assured, and continue to progress from week to week, then they'll have a chance in the end. 

In my opinion, the Bears must lose this week in order to give the Packers a shot at the title. If the Bears beat the Texans, it is very difficult to see Chicago losing three more games this year. 

At 12-4 the Bears should comfortably win this division, but at 11-5 or even 10-6 the Pack has a more-than-decent shot to overtake Chicago. 

In the end it may not even matter, as long as both teams get in. We all know the hottest team heading into the playoffs wins the Super Bowl anyways.