This is where the "if" factor in sports comes into play.
As in "if everything goes right," the Chicago Bears will make the playoffs. As in "if everything goes according to plan," there's no reason the Bears won't be in the playoffs. As in "if nothing else bad happens" ... you get the picture.
Looking at the Bears' very favorable schedule the rest of the way, if all else goes right (even with Charles Tillman out), they should win the next five games. All five remaining opponents have a record either at or below .500. Baltimore (4-5) is beatable, St. Louis (4-6) is beatable, Minnesota (2-7) is beatable, Dallas (5-5) on Monday night in the cold at Soldier Field is very beatable and Cleveland (4-5) is beatable. That means the Bears should be 10-4 going into Week 16. That should be one of the top eight records in the NFC.
The last two games will be a toss-up. Depending on how the Philadelphia Eagles are playing at the time and depending on whether Aaron Rodgers is back for the Green Bay Packers, the Bears have a strong opportunity to split those last two games.
If all goes well (and by then Lance Briggs should be back in full swing), they'll finish with at least an 11-5 record and should realistically be in line for a game in Week 18.
The Bears look like they will be one of six teams in the NFC (along with Seattle, New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, Carolina; no disrespect to Arizona, St. Louis or any team in the NFC East) to have double-digit wins. The playoffs are still a legit and strong possibility for the Bears.
If they don't find a way to screw it up.
Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com