John Fox: Bears still 'relevant' in crowded NFC playoff picture

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Coach John Fox conceded that last Thursday’s victory at Lambeau Field was a "must-win" for the Chicago Bears to stay "relevant" in the crowded NFC playoff picture.

“You only get 16 of these things, so obviously it was a big win, one on the road, against a division opponent, our first one, I think,” Fox said on Monday. “We kind of knew where we were. We fell behind where we wanted to be in win-loss record, so to be relevant, that was kind of a must-win, just like this week will be.”

At 5-6, Chicago is 10th in the latest NFC playoff standings.

New York and Tampa Bay also sit at 5-6, but both are ahead of the Bears based on conference records. The Bears have a disappointing 2-5 mark versus NFC teams. The Giants (4-5) and Bucs (4-3) each have four wins in conference play.

The Bears finish out the year against NFC opponents San Francisco, Washington, Minnesota, Tampa and Detroit.

“I think the whole thing is having meaningful or relevant games,” Fox said. “You want to put yourself in that position, but you definitely want to keep the focus small. All our focus right now is on the San Francisco 49ers.”

Chicago has missed the playoffs seven of eight years, but the roster does include some people with postseason experience.

Cornerback Tracy Porter, in particular, started six playoff games for the New Orleans Saints from 2009-11, helping the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV.

“There are definitely ingredients here for a playoff team, for us to take it to that next level,” Porter said. “But talent is … You can have the most talented team, but if you don’t have guys who believe in what the coaches are calling, if you don’t have guys who believe in one another, then talent only gets you so far. You have to go out there and execute and you have to believe in one another that each guy on that field is going to do his job. When you have that, then it can take you a long way.”