Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
How many wins do you think it will take for the Bears to make the playoffs?
I swore I wouldn't discuss playoff possibilities until the Bears at least reached the .500 mark, but given the number of questions I'm receiving about that very topic, I'll make an exception. (Plus it sure is nice to even consider the possibility after what transpired last season!) It looks like the Bears will need at least nine and probably 10 wins to earn a wildcard berth in the NFC. The Bears are currently tied with the Giants and Buccaneers at 5-6, one game behind the Falcons and Seahawks for the sixth and final wildcard spot in the NFC. That's quite a logjam. The reason I say it will probably take 10 wins is that the Bears have a 2-5 record against conference opponents that is the worst among all the aforementioned contenders and won't bode well in terms of tiebreakers. The last six years, the No. 6 seeds in the NFC playoffs have had records of 11-5, 11-5, 10-6, 10-6, 10-6 and 11-5. The last No. 6 seed that didn't record at least 10 wins was the Eagles, who went 9-6-1 in 2008.
If I remember correctly, Lovie Smith, Marc Trestman and now John Fox all won their first game at Lambeau Field. How have other first-year Bears coaches done there?
Las Vegas, Nevada
John Fox became the fourth straight Bears head coach to win his first game at Lambeau Field, following Dick Jauron (14-13 in 1999), Lovie Smith (21-10 in 2004) and Marc Trestman (27-20 in 2013). Since George Halas retired following the 1967 season, five of 10 Bears head coaches have been victorious in their first game at Lambeau, beginning with Jim Dooley (13-10 in 1968). Following Dooley, the next five coaches all lost: Abe Gibron (20-17 in 1972), Jack Pardee (28-7 in 1975), Neill Armstrong (24-14) in 1978, Mike Ditka (31-28 in 1983) and Dave Wannstedt (17-3 in 1993).
The Bears defense has made amazing improvements, especially after the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4. When was the last time the Bears held four straight opponents to under 20 points and five straight to under 25 points?
The last time that happened was in Lovie Smith's final year as coach in 2012 when the Bears held four straight opponents to under 20 points (6, 18, 3 and 7) and eight in a row to under 25 points (23, 6, 18, 3, 7, 22, 20 and 13). This year's streak is certainly a vast improvement over 2013, when the Bears allowed at least 20 points in all of their games for the first time in franchise history.