If the Lions lose on Sunday afternoon and the Packers win on Sunday afternoon, the Bears’ Sunday night game against the Eagles would have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not Chicago goes to the playoffs. Instead, the Bears’ path to the playoffs would be all about Week 17: Beat the Packers, and they’re in. Lose to the Packers, and they’re out.
So would that lead Bears coach Marc Trestman to rest some of his top players on Sunday night in Philadelphia to have them fresh for Week 17 against Green Bay? Trestman said he hasn’t thought about that yet. But he might give it some thought at around 7 o’clock on Sunday night.
“Could that change? Certainly. But right now, we’re focused on winning a game and there’s nothing else to discuss at this time. And at 7 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday night, if the situation needs to be re-evaluated again, it’s open for discussion,” Trestman said, via CBS Chicago.
Trestman added, however, that all he’s thinking about right now is getting the Bears ready to face the Eagles. Trestman also noted that even if the game against the Eagles doesn’t mean anything for the NFC North title, it could still be important to the Bears’ playoff seeding. If the playoffs started today the Bears would be the No. 4 seed and the Eagles would be the No. 3 seed, but if the Bears win out they’ll move ahead of the Eagles and would be the No. 3 seed.
“We’re 8-6 and we need to continue to progress and win, I think that’s No. 1,” Trestman said. “No. 2 is, winning does take us a to a different place in terms of potential seeding, which is critically important, so just leaving it at that is enough to reason out how we would want to play the game.”
So while it’s at least worth considering whether the Bears could rest their starters against the Eagles, Trestman is right not to give it much thought. Just as Eagles coach Chip Kelly says he won’t rest his starters if a Cowboys win on Sunday afternoon makes the Eagles-Cowboys Week 17 game the de facto NFC East championship game, Trestman shouldn’t rest his starters either. Both the Bears and the Eagles should treat Sunday night like a big game.