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Chalk Talk: Why do Bears win tiebreaker over Rams?

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

I've seen playoff scenarios that indicate the Bears would win a tiebreaker with the Rams. But the Bears lost to the Rams, so how is that possible?
Lee G.
Glenview, Illinois

If the Bears and Rams finished in a two-team tie, the Rams would win the tiebreaker based on their head-to-head victory over the Bears. But the only way they can end the season with the same record is if the Bears (8-7) beat the Packers and the Rams (9-6) lose to the Cardinals (8-7). That would create a three-team deadlock with the Bears, Rams and Cardinals all at 9-7, and when three teams are tied, the first tiebreaker that's employed is between two teams in the same division. The Cardinals would win that tiebreaker over the Rams due to a better record against NFC West rivals. The Bears would then win the tiebreaker over the Cardinals based on a better record against common opponents. In that scenario, the Bears would be the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, the Cardinals would be No. 7 and the Rams would be on the outside looking in. I know it's confusing, but I hope that clears it up.

When is the last time the Bears won their final four games in a season, and did they qualify for the playoffs that year?
Jordan L.
Muncie, Indiana

The Bears have won their final four games four times since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, and each time they earned a playoff berth—as a wild card in 1977 (9-5) and a division champion in 1986 (14-2), 2001 (13-3) and 2018 (12-4). Other than in 1942 when they went 11-0 in the regular season before losing the NFL Championship Game to Washington, the Bears' longest winning streak to end a season has been seven victories in 1959 and 1986. The 1959 team finished in second place in the NFL's Western Conference with an 8-4 record, one game behind the Baltimore Colts. At that time, only the first-place teams in the Western and Eastern Conferences qualified for the postseason, meeting in the NFL Championship Game. (The Colts went on to beat the New York Giants for the title.)

If the Bears make the playoffs, will they be the first NFL team to do so after losing six straight games in the same season?
Paul T.
Warsaw, Indiana

No, the Bears would become the third team since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to earn a playoff berth despite a six-game losing streak. They would join the 1970 Bengals, who won their opener, lost six in a row and then won their final seven games to finish 8-6 and win the AFC Central title, and the 2014 Panthers, who dropped six straight to fall to 3-8-1 before winning their last four games to finish 7-8-1 and claim the NFC South championship.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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