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Where Bears stand in playoff race heading into Week 16

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According to the New York Times' playoff simulator, the Bears' chances of earning an NFC wild card berth increased from 24 to 46 percent with last Sunday's win over the Vikings—but then dropped to 34 percent later in the day when the Cardinals beat the Eagles.

So where do the Bears stand in the playoff race with two weeks left in the regular season? Here's everything you need to know:

• The Bears need to catch the Cardinals.

The Bears (7-7) are one game behind the Cardinals (8-6) for the third and final wild card spot. The Bears have already clinched the tiebreaker over Arizona based on either conference record or record versus common opponents. So the Bears need to make up at least one game on the Cardinals over the final two weekends.

While the Bears visit the Jaguars (1-13) and host the Packers (11-3), Arizona hosts the 49ers (5-9) and visits the Rams (9-5).

• The Vikings still could be a factor.

Although Sunday's win gave the Bears a one-game lead over Minnesota (6-8), the Vikings still could earn the final wild card berth with road wins over the Saints (10-4) and Lions (5-9), coupled with one Bears loss and two Cardinals defeats.

In that scenario, the Bears, Vikings and Cardinals all would finish 8-8—and Minnesota would win tiebreakers over the Bears based on a better division record and over Arizona due to a better record versus common opponents.

• The Bears could still earn the No. 6 seed and the second wild card.

It's unlikely, but if the Buccaneers (9-5) drop their final two games on the road against the Lions (5-9) and at home versus the Falcons (4-10), the Bears could leap-frog Tampa Bay by winning their final two games. The Bears own the tiebreaker based on a 20-19 victory over the Buccaneers Oct. 8 at Soldier Field.

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