Yes we'll make the playoffs coming off an 8 game winning streak. We will end the season 12-4 winners of the division and possesors of the #2 seed in the playoffs giving us a WC bye week. Heck if I'm going to dream than I'm going to dream big.
And why not. There is NO ONE on the schedule that scares me. Miami and Buffalo should be wins going away if this team plays like it has the last few weeks. The Bears are good, but they aren't great. They built their resume off of weak teams, it was always talked about that they thrive off turnovers. We'll what happens when the turnovers don't come? Answer- they are just a so-so defense. The Packers and 49ers beat them down. There offense is shaky with an hot/cold Jay Cutler and who still has issues with playcalling not taking into account a weak OL. Why shouldn't we win this game, I ask myself? Answer we have good chance at being 2-0 the next 2 weeks.
Then you've got the ailing Cards at Home and followed by a road game (for both teams) to Toronto. I fully expect us to be 10-4 going into the 49ers game, which will be the biggest game of the year and will decide the division. Then the Rams to close things out. If the teams plays like I know they can we can pull it off. As for the #2 seed, if SF loses to NE or NO, or anyone else and we run the table we win the division, If the Packers lose 1 more game we get the #2 seed - again assuming we go 6-0 as we'll hold tiebreakers over GB and Chicago.
This is exactly how I feel, and I'm going to add to it a bit. There's no reason why we can't win out, and taking the #2 seed is certainly possible. Taking the #1 seed would require a lot of help, so I have my sights set on the #2 seed. We can and should beat anyone at home, even SF. If you believe in Football Outsiders' DVOA stats, and I do, we're better than everyone on our remaining schedule except SF, but we can still beat them at home.
I'm pretty much smoking RW's pole right now, but I believe that with his continued growth week to week, he's going to rise up to every remaining challenge this year. Don't bet against this kid.
**Premature Speculation Alert** Part of our problem on the road against SF and DET was the middle of the defense. Pro Football Focus said Mebane started the year as one of the best DTs in the league, and slipped recently. Maybe thats due to a nagging injury or fatigue, and maybe all he needed was a bye week. With how physical this defense is, perhaps the entire defense needed a bye week. I think the bye will reinvigorate the defense. **End premature speculation**
We can beat Chicago. We have a very similar style of team to SF, and they destroyed Chicago. Sherman can take Marshall out of the game. Without him, they don't have much of an offense. They can't pass protect, and if Mebane does actually get better after the bye, we can shut down Forte too. This is a game where our defense should dominate. Hester isn't much of a threat to return kicks or punts for TDs this year. If Cutler is out for any extended period of time with his concussion and misses this game, I would guarantee a victory. All we have to do is not turn the ball over.
I think the biggest hurdle to getting the #2 seed is relying on Green Bay to lose another game. They have some tough games left, but certainly no games you would expect them to lose. They are just as capable as us at winning out.
With all that said, its possible SF beats NO and NE and leaves us with the wild card. That's out of our control. Assuming an NFC North team takes one wild card, our competition for the other wild card is Tampa Bay and Dallas.
Due to beating Dallas earlier this year, they have to finish a game better than us, which means they have to win out (11-5) and we finish 10-6. No way in hell that happens, especially with games against Pittsburgh and New Orleans on their schedule (doesn't matter that those are home games...they have no HFA).
Tampa Bay has a very tough schedule remaining. They play Atlanta twice, at Denver, and at New Orleans. They'd be lucky to finish 10-6, and we'd be unlucky to finish 10-6. So I'd put our chances of making the playoffs at 95% (not 100% because random stuff does happen) and our chances of winning the division at 60%.