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The Bears Den: December 14, 2012 - Week 15 News and Notes

Major Wright shows Kellen Davis and Devin Hester how it's done...

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Soft Bears offense need to muscle up - David Haugh: Who among that starting OL possesses enough brute force for the Bears to trust running behind on fourth-and-short? The OL really should scare more than just its own QB.

Four Downs - Can Brandon Marshall back up his talk against the Packers? Playoffs or bust for Lovie? Can the Bears handle Clay Matthews? And Aaron Rodgers?

[Video] NFL Sound FX - Jay Cutler is a funny dude. Worth 4 minutes of your time.

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Game preview - The Packers have won seven of eight while the Bears have dropped four of five since their outstanding first half. A once-opportunistic defense that scored seven TDs in the first eight games has none in those five.

Game preview - Matt Bowen's Five keys to Sunday's matchup: Marshall, Randall Cobb, Packers' run game and more.

Bears need other receivers to produce Sunday - Larry Mayer: If the Packers double-team Marshall Sunday at Soldier Field like they did Sept. 13 in Green Bay, other Bears receivers must step up and contribute.

Bears know what they are up against in Aaron Rodgers - Fred Mitchell: Packers QB is 8-2 as a starter against them, with a passer rating of 96.8.

Bears’ new-look LB corps faces giant challenge in Rodgers - Adam L. Jahns: Roach and Hayes performed well after a rough first quarter for the Bears’ defense, but Rodgers is a different animal to Ponder.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - With Aaron Rodgers' pinpoint passing, Randall Cobb can make explosive gains against Cover-2 and Cover-3 alignments.

Briggs tired of losing to rival Packers - Larry Mayer: Somewhere, Mike Ditka and Forrest Gregg must be smiling. There hasn't been this much hostility between the two arch rivals since the Hall of Famers coached against each other in the 1980s.

Battle of words will be decided on the field - Brad Biggs: Players traded barbs again Thursday but Lance Briggs acknowledges they won't mean a thing Sunday in Soldier Field.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - Where have all the takeaways gone?

[Video] Game preview - Lomas Brown discusses the problems with the Bears offense heading into this weekend's matchup with the Packers.

[Video] Game preview - Brad Biggs and Fred Mitchell look ahead to Sunday's Bears-Packers showdown.

[Video] Matt Bowen's playbook - Breaking down a key weapon in the Packers' playbook. No whiteboard, but sweet graphics.

Team news - Brad Biggs: Bears expect Chris Spencer back in starting role; injury news.

Injury report - Brad Biggs: Jay Cutler has sprained MCL, but Lovie Smith insists the QB will be good to go Sunday against Green Bay.

Injury report - Moon Mullin: Henry Melton (chest) again joined the list of players who did not participate in Thursday's practice.

Injury report - Jeff Dickerson: Injuries leave special teams scrambling.

[Video] 'Madden NFL 13' predicts - Finally, an animated Lovie!


Other Bears news

Bears dependence on Brandon Marshall exposes weaknesses - Dan Pompei: Jay Cutler's virtually unprecedented targeting of talented receiver reveals how unreliable their passing game is.

Marshall not good for Bears' offense? - Moon Mullin: Brandon Marshall has been fantastic this season, racking up 101 catches with three games left to play. But his dominant presence has actually made the offense -- and Jay Cutler -- stall at times.

Lovie Smith's future remains a mystery - Dan McNeil: Three times in the last four years the Bears have made un-Bearlike moves. It's reasonable to hold out hope those uncharacteristic moves are harbingers.

[Video] NFL32OT - Jason Taylor breaks down what the Bears need to do in order be in the postseason, and the NFL32 crew discuss the possibility of expanding the playoffs.

New Bears kicker Olindo Mare glad to get the call - Adam L. Jahns: Dave Toub said the most important thing for Mare is getting the “operation” down with Adam Podlesh as his holder and Patrick Mannelly as his source of awesome.

For D.J. Moore, this season certainly a success - David Haugh: Though he hasn't played as much as he would like, Bears nickel back has helped his mother through addiction rehab.

Mock draft - Todd McShay thinks the Bears will take a DT in the first round. Imma riot.

Dionne Miller's `Happenings at Halas` - December 13: Team and injury news.

Which Bear features in a t-shirt design as a Roman emperor vegetable?


Polish sausage

Proposed changes to NFL out of touch with sport - Kip Lewis has some strong words for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his reported plans to eliminate kickoffs and expand the playoffs.

NFL pushing safety, madness at the same time - Rick Telander: Just as the average, sports-ignorant school mom has been made aware that head trauma is dangerous even in small doses to people like her son, Johnny, the league is talking about expanding the playoffs.

Expanded NFL playoffs: Yay or nay? - Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the league would spend the next few months considering playoff expansion. ESPN writers pitch in.

Know thy enemy: Lions - Drew Sharp: The Lions have problems regarding a lack of discipline, accountability and strong locker-room leadership. But it also can't be forgotten that their level of talent isn't as strong as many believed.

ProFootballFocus' Analysis Notebook - It's tough to generate consistent pass-rush in the NFL, so sometimes defenses must turn to trickery. PFF's Sam Monson takes a look at the effect of stunts and twists.

Kev's guest "Punk Covers of Popular Songs" week - The Downtown Fiction covers Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass"