The Weekend Bears Den: November 24, 2012 - Week 12 News and Notes

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Your one-stop shop for Bears-Vikings news and views ahead of Sunday's game.

Bears preparing for Cutler to return Sunday - Brad Biggs: QB will see an independent neurologist Saturday in a bid to get final clearance to play Sunday. [Update: Cutler is cleared to play.]

12 games left that will impact NFL playoff race - Don Banks has the Bears games in weeks 13, 14 and 15 (Seattle, @Min, GB) as being among the 12 most important games left to take place.

Team report - Recognizing the problem is the first step to solving it. But the Bears' OL is in such a state of disrepair that it may take more than a 12-step program to rectify the situation.

Follow WCG on Twitter; like us on Facebook (& click on 'Subscribed to'). Click for Chicago Bears Tickets. Enter the SBN living room makeover sweepstake here (closing date - midnight TONIGHT, ET).

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Bears-Vikings

Bears offense still looking for more consistency - Larry Mayer: After struggling to move the ball and score points in back-to-back losses to the Texans and 49ers, the Bears offense will look to get back on track Sunday against the Vikings.

Improving Cutler does more in Friday's practice - Jay Cutler took another positive step in his recovery, plus team and injury news from Larry Mayer. Kellen Davis is questionable, which I doubt too many Bears fans will be unhappy about.....

Moon Mullin's scouting report: Offense - Whether or not Jay Cutler starts Sunday, the Bears have problems. The offense has reached opposing red zones just twice in the past two games and put points on the board on only three of its past 25 possessions.

Moon Mullin's scouting report: Defense - In a league committed to passing and points, AP through 10 games has 1,128 yards, a 5.8-yard average per carry and seven TDs. By comparison, the NFL’s leading yardage receiver, Calvin Johnson, had 1,117 yards and three TDs through 10 games. And he's getting stronger.

NFCN Blog: Final Word - Kevin Seifert: The Bears' defense has proved vulnerable recently to what has been the decided strength of Peterson all season, and Jared Allen v. Webb.

Adrian Peterson to test Bears’ run defense - Sean Jensen: Peterson is ascending. He didn’t run for 100 or more yards until the Vikings’ fourth game but is averaging 157.2 yards in their last four. The Bears’ run defense, meanwhile, is descending.

Game preview - Mark Potash with matchups and what to expect.

PFF' 3 things to focus on - As much as AP has impressed in his return from injury, can the Vikings' receivers (without Harvin) get the better of the Bears' corners?

[Video] Thayer's game preview - Thayer & Mayer look ahead to Sunday's must-win matchup with the Vikings.

Game preview - The last time the Vikings won a game at Chicago, some rookie rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns.

Joniak’s keys to the game - Jeff Joniak on what the team needs to do as Chicago tries to end a two-game losing streak.

DL prepped to take corrective action - Vaughn McClure: Stephen Paea thinks he and his teammates can rectify errors in pass rush against the Vikings.

Game preview - Maggie Hendricks: The Bears will try to hit the reset button in a game against the Vikings on Sunday. The last few weeks have been rough, but will they right the ship?

[Video] Know thy enemy - Jared Allen talks about Sunday's NFC North clash against the Bears, Adrian Peterson's comeback season and the team's playoff hopes.

Know thy enemy - 5 things that the Vikings need to do to against the Bears if they're to win. Well, apart from score more points, obviously.

[Video] Matt Bowen's playbook - Bowen goes bananas on the whiteboard to break down the Bears' 8-man fronts and how the Vikings will attack it.

Know thy enemy - Adam L. Jahns: Watching out for play-action can be tough when a back such as Peterson is in the game, but the Bears’ LBs and safeties have to be aware it.

Game picks - The CBSChicago crew favour the Bears, even Hub, though I'm not as optimistic when he predicts Jared Allen won't get more than one sack. The ESPN crew nearly unanimously pick the Bears. The Tribune crew are more disharmonious.

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Updates

Game preview - Michael C. Wright breaks down the Bears-Vikings matchup. Why is he comparing their OCs and DCs when it should really be about how the OCs match up with the DCs? Nuts & Bolts.

Welcome to the crossroads of the Bears' season - Chris Boden: As the Bears come off two straight losses, it's make or break time as they continue pushing through the tough part of their schedule. The next two games are the crossroads of the Bears' season.

Cutler cleared to start tomorrow's game - Click on the link to discuss in the dedicated post.

Coach's Big Decision - Michael C. Wright: What will the Bears do if the new O-line struggles? (Den - Find a wood and take a collective poop in it.)

Know thy enemy - Dan Pompei compiles a scouting report on Vikings OT Matt Kalil (1 sack, 2 QB hits over his first 10 NFL games; by way of comparison, Webb has allowed 3 sacks and 7 QB hits over the 10 games of this, his 3rd, season).

Brad Biggs' Four downs - Thoughts ahead of the game. Will Cutler be effective immediately, or will he take a few games to find his feet again like when he returned from a concussion in 2010?

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - Tim Jennings key to containing AP, must take on pulling guard and turn the running play inside to lineman filling gaps and the LB-safety pursuit.

Jonathan Scott's NFL career a struggle, but he's a survivor - Vaughn McClure: Bears OT battle-tested and up for the challenge of a starting role Sunday against the Vikings. ECD to order Scott jersey in 3, 2, 1...

Can the Bears get their own Matt Kalil? - Dan Pompei: Vikings rookie LT is the kind of anchor the Bears haven't had since Jimbo Covert. Plus, thoughts on potential targets in FA and the draft, and one man's angry exit is James Brown's opportunity.

With Cutler back, season on the line in next three games - Moon Mullin: Cutler’s return comes at a pivotal juncture. The remaining six games are all against NFC teams, four of the six against NFC North opponents.

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Other Bears news

Hester’s struggles might have something to do with age - Mark Potash: With each passing day, the challenge for Hester becomes a little more than having the moon and stars align to capture the necessary magic to break out of a slump.

Donnell Woolford rooting for Tillman to break his record - Fred Mitchell: The two are tied at 37 for the club's CB interception mark, and the retired player has high praise for one of his successors.

Thayer: Carimi is going to have a bright NFL career - Despite Gabe Carimi’s demotion this week, Bears analyst Tom Thayer said he’s confident the 2011 first-round draft pick can still have a successful career.

Same trait that cost Bears vs. 49ers might help them bounce back - Mark Potash: When a playoff-caliber team gets embarrassed the way the Bears were last week against the 49ers, the last thing they want to do is admit they got snookered.

Matt Bowen's playbook - How did Gore, 49ers beat up the Bears defense? Breaking down the 'Double Lead' and the 'Wham.'

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Polish sausage

NFL will consider banning all low blocks in 2013 - Could the chop block and the downfield low block be eliminated?

Know thy enemy: Lions - Gregg Rosenthal: The Lions have more talent than any team to be forked so far this season. They just couldn't put it all together and found out how hard it is to go from good to great.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Kevin Seifert's Free Head Exam: After the Lions' 34-31 loss to the Texans, three issues that merit further examination. Is Schwartz' loss of composure more evidence for the connection between his fiery personality and his team's frequent mistakes of aggression? NFL exec on Suh kick: "It didn't look good."

Know thy enemy: Packers - PFF's 3 things to focus on: The Giants and the Packers (preview) renew their explosive modern-day rivalry with playoff implications hanging all over this game.

Matt Bowen's playbook - How did Brady beat the Jets' blitz? (Den - For starters, he didn't get run over by his own OTs...) Taking a look at Edelman's 56-yard TD catch.

NFL.com's Best of the week 11 cheerleaders - Don't quote me on this, but I may have found the future Mrs Spongie...

David Taylor's annual-bet-with-Rence guest video week: "Will the Vikings Suck This Year?"

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