The Chicago Bears went into Thursday night’s matchup with the Green Bay Packers with bleak prospects at 1-5.

They exited the night in even worse shape.

Brian Hoyer Hurts Arm

Losing 26-10 to a rival to drop to 1-6 probably hurt enough, but the Bears were also dropped down to their third string quarterback, with backup and current starter Brian Hoyer leaving the game with a broken arm:

The silver lining? The injury was to Hoyer’s non-throwing arm and previous starter Jay Cutler (thumb) could potentially be back in a matter of weeks.

Matt Barkley Blows Chance

The bad news? Matt Barkley entered in a tight game and bombed horribly, completing just 6 of 15 passes for 81 yards and two interceptions. Barkley grabbed hold of a game where the Bears were only down 6-3, and proceeded to implode from there.

This loss was far from being solely on a quarterback who had received few practice reps and probably didn’t think for a second he’d be playing, but the performance from the former USC standout still wasn’t good.

Week 8 Prospects

The worse news? The Bears will undoubtedly be confiding in Barkley again in week eight, when they take on the Minnesota Vikings.

Yikes. Truly, if Barkley couldn’t even look respectable against the Packers, it’s going to be awfully tough to imagine him doing anything positive against a Vikings defense that has looked like the league’s best unit through their first five games.

There isn’t much of a silver lining here, but if Barkley can lean on the talent that once made him a star at USC and put him in the first round discussion the year he was drafted, perhaps he can do enough to keep the Bears in the game. Making more throws like this one from Thursday night couldn’t hurt:

Realistically, Barkley is in over his head and the Bears are in big trouble. As bad as they wanted Jay Cutler to stay gone, they’re going to hope he can quickly return from a sprained thumb that has kept him out since the second half of a week two loss. Chicago hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire without him under center (one win), so turning back to Cutler at this point does no real damage.

Cutler Needs to Return

That brings us to the bigger issue. We can’t be talking about how the Bears can hope to survive or turn things around with Barkley under center. He’s not really even an option. Instead, Cutler needs to suck it up, brave the pain of a sprained thumb and put this team on his back:

Bears head coach John Fox admitted recently that Cutler is getting closer, so we can’t rule out a Cutler return in week eight just yet:

While Cutler’s status remains up in the air yet again, it’s highly possible his “injury” gave the Bears a good excuse to stick with a hot Brian Hoyer. With Hoyer no longer an option and Barkley staring them in the face, however, the Bears are looking at a truly disastrous season if they don’t give the reigns back to Cutler.

There is no denying the tough spot Chicago is in. They’re 1-6 and get a brutal matchup with the hated Vikings. They’re sure to be 1-7 and if we weren’t sure of it by now, their chances at a playoff run are all but over. That being said, there is something to remaining competitive and building positive momentum toward 2017. Cutler probably won’t be part of that, should this take a positive turn going into next season, but neither will Barkley.

Chicago and Cutler both need to suck it up and ride this out, regardless of how it unfolds.

Cutler’s potential return aside, the Bears aren’t beating the Vikings and this is a team in general that appears very safe to bet against on a weekly basis.

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