Without context, and looking at just wins and losses, the Bears and Lions are still tied for the NFC North lead. With the Bears and Lions both losing Sunday and the Packers tying the Vikings, Chicago and Detroit are knotted at 6-5, with Green Bay a half-game back at 5-5-1.
However, the Lions swept the season series with Chicago, giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bears. In short, if the season ended today, the Lions would win the NFC North.
That tiebreaker could be a real problem for Chicago, which lost 42-21 at St. Louis on Sunday.
The Bears’ NFC record also could be a problem relative to their postseason hopes.
The loss to the Rams dropped the Bears’ conference record to 3-5. Conference record is one the first tiebreakers for wild-card spots. Only the Vikings, Redskins, Buccaneers and Falcons have more NFC losses than Chicago. The Rams (5-6) also have five NFC losses — but now have the head’s up win vs. Chicago. The Giants are 3-4 in the NFC pending the result of their game with Dallas.
Of course, tiebreakers aren’t going to matter much if the Bears don’t improve on defense. In defeat Sunday, Chicago surrendered 258 rushing yards to St. Louis. The Rams gained 8.9 yards per carry, and tailbacks Benny Cunningham and Zac Stacy combined for 196 yards and two TDs on 25 carries.
The Bears have five games left, four of which are against NFC foes. With a strong December, they can play into January, and they finally have the offensive might they have long lacked. However, Sunday’s loss wasn’t flattering, and it was an NFC defeat to boot.