The Chicago Bears have already exceeded the expectations of many this year. Plenty of people saw them going somewhere between 6-10 and 7-9 thanks to a mix of an inexperienced roster and a tough division. Yet here they are sitting at 5-3 with eight games to go, already equalling their win total from 2017.

Could they possibly make a run in the second half to secure a playoff spot? There’s plenty of optimism, though head coach Matt Nagy isn’t even thinking about that. He’s too focused on the next game. Still, can they squeeze out another five wins from their remaining schedule? One that features five games against division opponents and another against the NFC powerhouse Rams.

Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com believes they’ll come close. Really close. Unfortunately, the push will fall just short of its goal.

“With the Packers in the rearview mirror, Chicago and Minnesota will stay neck-and-neck in the standings until the end of the season. The Vikings might boast the superior roster, but Minnesota has more potential hiccups on its schedule than Chicago, which still gets to play the Lions twice, the Giants and the 49ers.

By the time their season finale rolls around, the Bears (9-6) and Vikings (9-5-1) will be in a win-or-go home scenario. When the inexperienced Bears lose handily to their Norse rivals, falling to 9-7, not only will they lose the North title, but they’ll fall completely out of the playoffs, thanks to the ascendant Falcons finishing on an absolute tear.”

Minnesota has been a house of horrors for the Chicago Bears

Sadly this is a scenario that seems all too real. Minnesota is always a tough team to play in their home stadium. Few have struggled there more of late than the Bears. It seems bad things always happen to them when they play up there.

Brian Urlacher tore up his knee there in 2011. Robbie Gould missed a field goal in overtime in 2013 and cost them the division. The past three trips up there have resulted in blowout losses by at least 13 points or more. Head coach Mike Zimmer has never lost to them at home. If the Bears let things rest on that game, Bergman is correct.

It likely will not end well.

This means they’ll have to do one of two things. Either they prove the doubters wrong and go up there and win, or they somehow get to 10 victories before that game comes up on the schedule. Neither will be an easy feat for this team, but nothing about making the playoffs is ever easy. If it were, the Bears wouldn’t be in the midst of an eight-year drought.