The Weekend Bears Den: December 21, 2013 - Week 16 Bears-Eagles news & previews

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry discusses whether the Bears would rest key players if Sunday night's game doesn't matter in their quest for a division title, facing the Eagles in prime-time, and how Cutler has fared against Philadelphia.

NFC playoffs - Fred Mitchell: The Bears (8-6), Packers (7-6-1) and Lions (7-7) each hope to send in a playoff RSVP in these final two weeks of the regular season. Yet the first-place Bears are the only team in the NFC North that controls its own destiny.

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Chicago Bears - Philadelphia Eagles previews

Bears to battle athletic Eagles defense - Larry Mayer: The Bears will face an Eagles defense Sunday night that usually holds opponents to 21 points or less and presents some unique challenges.

Coach 'very optimistic' Briggs will play - Larry Mayer: Lance Briggs was cleared by doctors and practiced without restrictions Friday.

[Video] Game preview - Tom Thayer and Larry Mayer break down the different scenarios that the get the Bears into the playoffs, and discuss what it will take for the Bears to come away with win number nine.

Briggs prepares to return - Melissa Isaacson: After longest layoff of his career, veteran hopes to aid Bears' playoff push. Jeff Dickerson: Decision for Sunday in Briggs' hands.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - How much will Lance Briggs' return help? [KAPCON: 5]

Game preview - Justin Einhorn: Chicago and Philadelphia will know by the start of their matchup Sunday night whether either one - or both - can wrap up its division. PFF's Three things to focus on.

Game preview: QB - Moon Mullin: Cutler INT rate remains critical in playoff run.

Game preview: WR - Moon Mullin: Using the weapons Phil Emery has assembled makes the Bears very difficult to match up with, and Chicago can overwhelm Philadelphia.

Game preview: O-line - Moon Mullin: Bears warned, 'don’t trust those guys'.

Game preview: D-line - Moon Mullin: Season hinges on DL winning, slowing run game.

Game preview: LB - Moon Mullin: Briggs is back but how much difference can he make?

Team notes - Mark Potash: Briggs gets medical clearance; continuity on O-line; Bostic to benefit from Briggs' return.

Team notes - Dan Wiederer: Ratliff gives Bears a lift on defense; Bears must beware zone reads; what will tomorrow's game mean?

[Video] Game preview - Jeff Dickerson, Michael C. Wright and Tom Waddle discuss the Bears' matchup against the Eagles.

Know thy enemy - Dan Wiederer: With playoff stakes rising, the Bears head to Philadelphia needing to control LeSean McCoy while also exploiting a shaky defense.

Week 16 game previews - Fanspeak.com takes a look at each week 16 game. Can the Bears upset their prediction?

Game picks - the ESPN Chicago pundits are divided ...CBS Chicago pundits favo(u)r the Bears.

Updated 23:00 CT / 05:00 GMT.

Four downs with Ditka - Da Coach speaks! You listen! Well, read.

Game preview - The Tribune's key matchups, game predictions, and thoughts going into tomorrow's game. Dan Wiederer: Three Bears to watch.

Game preview - Mark Potash: How the Bears and Eagles match up.

Game preview - Jeff Dickerson looks at how the teams match up and makes his prediction.

Team notes - Adam L. Jahns: Forte finally the force he was meant to be; Trestman on Eagles' secondary; Bushrod > J-Webb; more notes.

Bears only have one side, and it’s a fun side - Rick Morissey: The idea that the Bears are playing a game of import this late in the season seems almost beyond comprehension. If a team is going to be imbalanced, let it be in imbalanced in favor of the offense.

Bears have three on brink of 1,300-yard club - Brad Biggs: With Forte, Jeffery and Marshall, the Bears are on the verge of accomplishing something only three teams have done since 1990.

Game preview: RB - Moon Mullin: Bears could break Eagles’ DL with Forte, Bush late.

Is Defense dead in the NFL? - Scott Lindholm: The successful teams going forward will have high-powered offenses coupled with adequate, middle-of-the-pack defenses. It’s the new NFL, not anything at all like the old NFL.

Game preview: DB - Moon Mullin: If the Bears are forced to expend Wright for run defense too much in order to help slow LeSean McCoy, the Bears are likely in trouble as DeSean Jackson is a certified game-breaker.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - Bears must disrupt Eagles with five-man pressure. but it will be tough for the Bears' zone schemes to challenge the protection count and take away throwing lanes for Nick Foles.

Briggs has final say - James Neveau: The Bears could be getting back arguably their best defensive player at exactly the right time, though McClellin's struggles will make his job more difficult.

Kyle Long gets an 'awesome' review - Bob LeGere: Considering Long's rapid ascension to full-time NFL starter, going from from project to producer almost overnight, his old coach might not recognize him.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Marshall explains why he's so dedicated as a blocker; Trestman on team's resilience; Bears improve through games, at best in Q4.

Cutler, Trestman a fascinating study - Barry Rozner: The Bears have talked a lot about overcoming the noise they heard before the Cleveland game. Now, they’ll have to deal with prosperity, expectations and playoff ramifications in Philadelphia.

Trestman may be forced to gamble Sunday - Tim Baffoe: The relevance - or otherwise - of Bears-Eagles, coupled with what may come down to a winner-takes-all against the Packers next week, makes for an interesting situation. Tribune: Other important games for Bears on Sunday.

Bears’ best bet is playing at full power, not resting players - Mark Potash: The Bears need work more than they need rest. They work hard, but efficiency is a bigger premium than long hours under Trestman.

Game preview - Jeff Joniak's keys to the game. Just win, baby.

[Video] Game preview - CSNPhilly's Barkann previews Bears-Eagles.

Eagles' success no surprise to Jerry Azumah - David Haugh: Former Bears CB was fine RB for New Hampshire when Eagles coach Chip Kelly was his position coach before developing revolutionary offense.

Know thy enemy - Brad Biggs compiles a scouting report on Eagles QB Nick Foles.

Madden - The Tribune's Madden simulation. Not as high-scoring as you'd think.

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Bearsss

Earl Bennett has found his place in the offense - Adam L. Jahns: Bennett's production is a sign the Bears’ offense can reach new levels. It truly has evolved into a the-more-the-merrier attack.

[Audio] - Phil Emery joins Waddle & Silvy to discuss their playoff outlook, rebuilding the defense, the future of Jay Cutler and more. Jeff Dickerson: Jon Bostic could be moved to OLB.

Jennings is most important Bears defender to re-sign - Chris Boden: Tim Jennings isn't the best cornerback in the NFL. But this season has so far proven he's among the best.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Trestman not quiet when dealing with 'noise'; injury notes; Trestman among top first-year Bears head coaches in franchise history.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - Anthony Adams takes Matt Slauson for a ride in another edition of "Big guys in compact cars." Slauson talks about an interesting pregame ritual and his love for Harleys and tattoos.

[Video] ChicagoBears.com - Patrick Mannelly was mic'd up for the Bears 38-31 over the Browns in week 15. [Awesomeness overload alert - you may need to lie down after watching this - Den]

1988 Fog Bowl still clear in Bears-Eagles lore - Fred Mitchell: Bears won that playoff game 20-12 on New Year's Eve and this year's teams already are used to playing in adverse conditions that could prevail Sunday night. Fog Bowl photos.

Check WCGer Sackman's selection of Bears-themed tops here, or some t-shirt designs here. Vote for your favorite WCG shirt ideas here.

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Polish sausage

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Jeff Mezydlo: The Vikings travel to Cincinnati attempting to avoid going winless on the road for the third time in franchise history. PFF's Three things to focus on ... Coley Harvey & Ben Goessling: team matchups.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Tom Castro: The Lions face a home matchup with the reeling and out-of-contention New York Giants. PFF's Three things to focus on ... Michael Rothstein & Dan Graziano: team matchups ... Lions need Stafford to return to earlier form.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Taylor Bechtold: Matt Flynn will try to keep GB's playoff hopes alive against the visiting Steelers. PFF's Three things to focus on ... Rob Demovsky & Scott Brown: team matchups ... Rodgers' decision raises more questions.

Cheerleaders - The best of week 15, from NFL.com. More from SI.com.

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