Bears coach Lovie Smith is feeling a sense of urgency after losing his fifth game in the last six weeks on Sunday against the Packers, and he says the Bears simply must beat the Cardinals this week.
“Yesterday’s game was a must-game for the NFC North championship, but besides that, it wasn’t a must-game with what can happen for our season,” Smith said at his press conference on Monday. “This week it is a must game.”
Smith is right that Sunday’s game wasn’t a must-win in the sense that it didn’t eliminate the Bears from playoff contention. However, losing to the Packers did mean that for the first time all season, the Bears don’t control their own destiny: They now need to get some help to reach the playoffs, even if they win their last two games.
The good news, however, is that the Bears have the easiest remaining schedule of the 8-6 teams in the NFC, with the Cardinals and the Lions coming up. Smith said he knows generally how the NFC stacks up, but he’s focused only on Arizona, not on what other teams are doing.
“There are a lot of 8-6 teams,” Smith said. “We haven’t gone over every scenario, but we just know that there’s a lot of us in it, and for us it’s about getting to 10-6. And getting to 10-6 is about beating Arizona and getting to 9-6.”
Smith sounded like he’s running out of explanations for how his team could play so well over the first half of the season, with a 7-1 start, and then go 1-5 over six straight games.
“When you’ve lost as many as we have, I can’t give you a good reason for it,” Smith said.
If Smith can’t find a way to reverse it, these could be his last two games as the Bears’ head coach.