Bears fans should be more confident in ...
Lions losing is safest bet
There haven't been many reasons to link the words "Chicago Bears," "confident" and "winning" in the same sentence for much of the last two months.
Where there was once a giddy fan base and talk of another Super Bowl appearance, there is now a feud between players and fans on whether it was proper to boo the home team at Soldier Field while it was in the process of losing five of six games.
I realize that.
But call me an eternal optimist or call me idiotic because I'm still more confident the Bears will defeat the Detroit Lions on Sunday than I am that the Packers will beat the Vikings.
My confidence in a Bears' win has as much to do with my confidence in a Lions' loss. This isn't the same Detroit team the Bears scraped by with a 13-7 win in Week 7.
The Lions were near their height back then. They had defeated the Philadelphia Eagle the week prior and added wins over Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars the following two weeks. Three of their four wins this season came in that four-game span.
Since then, the Lions have collapsed while the Bears stumbled. The Lions have lost their last seven games, including a 38-10 loss to the offensively challenged Arizona Cardinals. The Lions have allowed 31.9 points a game and committed 19 turnovers during the losing streak.
Just for clarification, I'm not saying the Bears are going to make the playoffs. No, what I'm confident in is the Bears defeating the Lions and then nervously watching the late afternoon game between the Packers and Vikings.
The Packers and Vikings are playing some of their best football of the season, and both have something riding on Sunday's game. The Vikings can clinch a playoff berth with a win and the Packers are fighting for a first-round bye. And while Adrian Peterson is sore, I can see him capping off his incredible regular season by leading his team past its rival in Minneapolis. It doesn't hurt the Vikings that Christian Ponder has suddenly turned into a serviceable quarterback the last two weeks with impressive wins at STP. Louis and Houston.
The Vikings played the Packers tough last time, so that will be a slugfest.
The smarter money is on the Bears. Or, against the Lions.
Scott Powers is a reporter for ESPNChicago.com.
This team knows how to win
But the Green Bay Packers have proven once again they are the class of the division, and I have more faith that they will hold up their end of the scenario to deliver Chicago the playoffs.
The odds are actually in the Bears' favor this week, but if there is one team you would bet your life on to win, it would be the Packers, not the Bears. Green Bay is gunning for the Super Bowl, the Bears have proven their weaknesses all but nullify their strengths.
Sure, Chicago broke out of its funk Sunday, but it needed two defensive touchdowns to cruise past Arizona.
The Packers haven't lost to Minnesota since 2009, when the Vikings went 12-4 during Brett Favre's last gasp of greatness. With the the No. 2 seed and bye week up for grabs, you can bet the Packers will play this game to win.
Adrian Peterson ran for 210 in their last meeting, a 23-14 Packers win on Dec. 2, but Christian Ponder's two interceptions kept the Vikings from pulling an upset. Minnesota led 14-10 at half, but didn't score in the last two quarters.
Green Bay is the team that knows how to win, and while Chicago has dominated the bum teams on their schedules, Detroit's ferocious defense could very well overmatch the Bears' miserable offense.
Remember Ndamukong Suh's takedown of Cutler in their last matchup, a 13-7 Bears' win on Oct. 22? Cutler is banged up enough already. Here's the $1,000,000 question: Do the Lions want to play spoiler more than they want to leave Detroit?
The Bears locked up Calvin Johnson last time for a season-low 34 yards on three catches. After one more blah game, Johnson has gone off in his last eight for 1,254 of his NFL-record 1,892 yards. Can the Bears stop Matthew Stafford from finding Johnson, who definitely wants to break 2,000 yards? That might be the key to the Bears winning.
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.