The most important result of the Chicago Bears' 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers was that nobody got hurt.
Make no mistake. Nothing else mattered.
Forget about the Packers making the playoffs, forget about the sacks, forget about Lovie Smith's timeout call.
It doesn't matter.
What does matter? Two weeks from today the Bears will be playing in the NFC Divisional Playoffs for the right to go to the NFL's final four.
Instead of reviewing today's game, let's go over what the Bears will have to do in the playoffs to stay successful.
The only unnerving thing for me today was Jay Cutler's decision making. Cutler gave way to multiple coverage sacks; obviously not being too comfortable with throwing into Green Bay's coverage.
In the next round, Cutler will have to show more confidence under pressure against Philadelphia, New Orleans, or Seattle.
Cutler's interception that killed a chance at three points was also baffling. Make no mistake, Jay is the key to the Bears' playoff run....I know, I'm Captain Obvious.
Matt Forte will be called upon to do the dirty work in cold Soldier Field. The ill-footed surface will place a premium on the ground, and Forte will have to continue his hot streak.
The majority of Cutler's sacks today were coverage sacks. The Bears ran for 110 yards (not great) and gave Cutler decent protection (emphasis on 'decen't, by no way were they good).
I'm putting the key on Chris Williams at guard. While improved, Williams' play has been hit or miss since moving to guard. Inexperience could provide worry.
Rashied Davis' play in today's game was a bit of a surprise for the majority of Bears fans. It throws a wrench into the game planning of their next opponent. The great thing about Martz's offense is that it's an equal opportunity provider.
In tight playoff games, the difference can be one throw. Johnny Knox can be a game changer, and that one play could provide a victory (think of Bernard Berrian's two big catches in the 2006 NFC Playoffs).
In colder weather, the short passing game will have to be on target. Greg Olsen is going to have to be a premier target to open up the Bears down the field.
The Bears' rotation on the defensive line has given opponents something new to worry about each week. Obviously, Julius Peppers is going to have to rise up to the playoff pressure. The defensive line is key to any defense running the Cover-2. No pressure, and the offense eats up the seams of the field. Most likely the Bears will be looking at Drew Brees or Michael Vick. The prospect of those two against a defensive line without pressure will provide poor results. (I know, no crap.)
Another piece to the Cover-2 is the dropback ability of your linebacking core. Vick poses problems because of his legs. The Jets gave a good template to beat the Bears' defense by running counters, play action, wildcat...pretty much any formation to freeze Briggs and Urlacher.
That's why I think the Saints would be so troubling. They have the ideal personnel on offense to give Briggs and Urlacher fits.
Nobody will debate that this is the weak point of the Bears' defense.
Where the defensive backs have been successful has been in creating turnovers. Obviously, come playoff time, you have to win the turnover battle. Will Brees and Vick light up the secondary...probably. But you can offset that by getting turnovers. (Yep, Caption Obvious.)
The Bears have the best special teams in the NFL.
You can be assured that nobody is going to kick to Devin Hester. Look for upmen like Rashied Davis to get opportunites to run back kicks. The Bears have experience in Hester, Manning, Knox, and Davis on returns. This provides headaches for other special teams.
This is one area you can bet on the Bears winning.
What will be interesting is Brad Maynard. Maynard played one of his best games of the year tonight against Green Bay. Get Vick or Brees to go 80 yards instead of 65 or 70.
Yep...that's about it.
The post game podcast is being delayed until Monday or Tuesday...I know you guys are dying to hear Alex's thoughts.