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

No candidates for the future Mrs Spongie in this week's cheerleaders gallery...

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Is Jay Cutler a superstar or is he going to be Steve DeBerg? - Dan McGrath fails to grasp the possibility that there's a level or three between "Brady" and "journeyman".

It's Lovie's list, so, it's Lovie's failure - Steve Rosenbloom: "Beat the Packers. Win the division. Win the Super Bowl." So, where is Smith and where are the Bears with accomplishing those goals?

Urlacher making no career decision until next offseason - Moon Mullin: Decision may be tied to the fate of Lovie Smith. Whether Urlacher fits into plans of a new HC and DC is one thing; whether he wants to go through another system change at age 35 is another.

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Joniak’s keys to the game - Turnovers will be important on both sides of the ball, and expect the Packers to test the Bears' new pieces on special teams.

[Video] Thayer's game preview - Tom Thayer looks ahead to Bears-Packers and what the Bears need to do.

PFF's 3 things to focus on - Webb v. Matthews; Marshall v. Williams; Hester v. Masthay (the punter).

Bears struggle scoring, particularly vs. Green Bay - Moon Mullin: Nothing about scoring against Green Bay has been easy for the Bears, but many of the last matchups between the two teams have come down to just a play or two.

Packers unlikely to lighten extra coverage on Marshall - Adam L. Jahns: How exactly did the Green Bay Packers contain Bears receiver Brandon Marshall in Week 2? It was a variety of things, really. But the premise for every coverage was the same: Don’t let Marshall get man-to-man coverage.

[Video] Kip Lewis & Moon Mullin - Looking at Bears-Packers and discussing whether or not Dom Capers has Cutler's number.

Game preview - Tom Thayer says the Bears have to test Clay Matthews' hamstring: "Does he rush the same? Can he get into a back pedal equally as efficient?"

Packers offense showing more than Rodgers passing - Moon Mullin: As if facing Aaron Rodgers wasn't enough for the Bears, Green Bay's performance against Detroit gave a strong indication of what else Chicago needs to prepare for heading into Sunday's game.

[Video] Matt Bowen's playbook - Containing Randall Cobb on short routes and screens. Whiteboard rating: 3/5

Bears need group effort on special teams - Larry Mayer: Overcoming season-ending injuries to special teams standouts Sherrick McManis and Craig Steltz won't be easy.

Bears special teams limping into Packers game - Brad Biggs: Losing Gould, McManis, Steltz will challenge assistant Toub, upset Dane.

Bears’ special teams taking hit because of injuries - Mark Potash: Asking Blake Costanzo to "step it up" is like asking Lovie Smith to tone it down.

Injury report - Larry Mayer: While Jay Cutler is "good to go," Brian Urlacher, Tim Jennings and Earl Bennett have been ruled out of Sunday's NFC North clash with the Packers due to injuries.

Injury report - Mark Potash with all the latest injury news from both camps ahead of Sunday's game. Plus, could this be the first time we see WR Joe Anderson in a live game?

Game picks - The ESPNChicago crew unanimously think the Beloved will be unable to overcome injuries and momentum going the wrong way. Ditto the Tribune writers. CBSChicago's analysts provide a mixed bag.

NFCN Blog: Final Word - Kevin Seifert with five nuggets of knowledge about Week 15. Let's face it, Bears-Packers is the main event...



Bears know who has stung them most - Mark Potash: Dom Capers has been the biggest difference between the Bears and Packers in the Jay Cutler era.

Packers 3-4 defense difficult for Bears to digest - Dan Pompei: Smaller, quicker edge rushers have been difficult for J'Marcus Webb and the other tackles to handle. (Den: And it's a good thing Aldon Smith isn't any bigger, or his bull rushes would've been downright humiliating instead of merely thoroughly embarrassing.)

Game preview - Mark Potash takes a look at the matchups.

Four downs with Ditka - Ditka speaks. You listen.

Bear for all seasons - Dan Pompei: Dick Butkus might not be the snarling Monster of the Midway he once was, but he's still a legendary figure at 70.

Brad Biggs' Four downs - Thoughts ahead of Bears-Packers.

Three Bears - Brad Biggs thinks Kellen Davis' porridge is like Mama Bears: too cold. There's probably a comparison to be made.

Matt Bowen's playbook - Cutler will look for Marshall on this corner route but blockers must handle four-man rush. (Den: Keeping 8 in ought to do it.)

Bears wish to copy Packers' blueprint for success - David Haugh: The team getting dominated must try something when nothing else works, and the Bears have lost five straight to the Packers.

Know thy enemy - Dan Pompei's scouting report on Packers safety Morgan Burnett.

Game preview - describes this matchup as "epic".

Hester gets another slot shot vs. Packers - Sean Jensen: With Bennett ruled out for the game against the Packers, Hester will work the slot again. He’s hoping to feel more comfortable after only practicing two days as a slot receiver, and he thinks the position does suit him.

Chris Conte had doubters, but he’s playing part well - Adam L. Jahns: Chris Conte has Hollywood in his blood, but this isn’t a true Hollywood story. Conte’s tale is about a football player who proved his many doubters wrong.

Troy Aikman: Bears reversing momentum is hard, not hopeless - Sean Jensen: Aikman thinks the Bears are good enough on the defensive side of the ball to win a championship. But are they good enough offensively?

Bears face 'Cutler Time' vs. Packers - Moon Mullin: If the Bears are going to find a way to beat the Packers on Sunday afternoon, Jay Cutler is going to have to reverse his recent play against Green Bay.


Other Bears news

NFCN Blog - Kevin Seifert takes a look at the Bears' defensive slide.

The Bears' moment in time - Chris Boden looks back at one play that may prove crucial to the to season.

ESPN Chicago Chatwrap - Michael C. Wright's Q&A session.


Polish sausage

Know thy enemy: Lions - Lions-Cardinals preview. Even the Lions can't find a way to lose this one against a team that gave up 58 points last outing, can they? PFF' 3 things to focus on.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Vikings-Rams could serve as all but an elimination game in the NFC playoff race. PFF's 3 things to focus on.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Because Bears fans know what a great rusher looks like, and they have one: After recovering from ACL surgery, AP has recorded the best statistical year of his career.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Dan Wiederer looks at the Vikings' inability to find a deep threat with Harvin out. They were hoping for more from seven-year(!) veteran Devin Aromashodu than 2 catches for 44 yards in 8 games; should really look to sign Brandon Rideau, Mike Hass, and Matt Jones.....'s Best Worst of the week 14 cheerleaders - That's a man, man!

Kev's guest "Punk Covers of Popular Songs" week - The Secret Handshake covers Skee-Lo's "I Wish"