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The Bears Den: December 28, 2012 - Week 17 News and Notes

Brian Hoyer was no match for Lance Briggs' jump shot.

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Norm Hall

Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall each incomparable - Dan Pompei: Johnson has some physical gifts Marshall doesn't possess. That, in part, was why Johnson was a second overall draft pick and Marshall the 119th. But because of the rare passion and grit with which Marshall plays, he is not far behind in terms of his impact on his team.

Bears counting on resurgent defense - Brad Biggs: Numbers show it has been playing better than many believe over the last five weeks.

So what if officials' miscues cost the Bears? - David Haugh: It's true a couple of big infractions went against the Bears in critical loss to Seahawks but good teams overcome bad calls. The Bears never should have put themselves in the win-or-go-home predicament they face, not with five Pro Bowl starters.

You lost your fantasy football league because fantasy football is stupid - Jon Bois: I'm sorry to hear that your fantasy football team failed to win the championship. Just know that it isn't your fault. Fantasy football is dumb, and everyone else is dumb except for you.

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Know thy enemy - Steve Rosenbloom: If the Bears can't get the Cardinals again, then they will face the best opponent they could want in a must-win/then-pray scenario.

'Win one for the…Lovie?' - Moon Mullin: Lovie Smith and the Bears are not planning on winning the final game of the season for "the Gipper" or some other Hollywood-esque reason, but rather for themselves and their shrinking championship window.

Bears’ Defense playing for more than just Lovie in Detroit - Adam Hoge: If the Bears lose to the Lions Sunday in Detroit, it could be the end of an era. It could be the last time they play for head coach Lovie Smith.

Briggs says Bears' focus on Detroit, not changes - These are awkward times for the Bears. They're in a situation they never would have envisioned after a 7-1 start, trying to slip into the playoffs and in need of a big assist even if they do their part against the Lions.

[Video] CTL game preview - The CTL crew discusses Melton's comments about the Lions, and what Sunday's game means for Lovie's future.

Matt Bowen's playbook - Lions will try to make a hole in Bears zone defense for Calvin Johnson to get open on a deep square in route, in front of the safety and behind the nickel back

PFF's 3 things to focus on - If the Bears are to prevail in Detroit and give themselves a shot at the playoffs, they'll have to protect Jay Cutler.

[Video] CTL discussion - What do the Lions have to play for? Why did Melton kick a sleeping dog? Does Sunday still matter for Lovie's job? Why does Kaplan insist on gilberting everything?

Know thy enemy - Maggie Hendricks: When the Bears and the Lions last met, Detroit was reeling while Chicago was surging. What has happened to the Lions since then?

NFCN Blog - Kevin Seifert: It's worth noting how one-sided these particular division matchups matchups have been in recent history and how thoroughly Cutler and Rodgers have dominated this week's opponent over that period.

Team news - Larry Mayer: OL hopes to build on success; a potential first start for Anthony Walters?

Team notes - Brad Biggs: If coach Lovie Smith loses his job for failing to make the playoffs, the camaraderie he fosters with his team will go with him Plus, injury and team news.

Team notes - Moon Mullin with thoughts on the Bears, including the Brandon Marshall ratio that failed in 2012.

Team news - Larry Mayer: Briggs taking Pro Bowl snub in stride; Peppers wins NFC DPOTW; injury news.

Injury report - Dan Pompei: Tillman, Forte practice; Urlacher remained out.


Other Bears news

Peppers named NFC defensive player of the week - Julius Peppers was named NFC defensive player of the week for his performance in the Bears' 28-13 win over the Cardinals in Week 16.

Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry discusses how frequently 10-6 teams have qualified for the postseason, Lance Briggs not making the Pro Bowl and how many 100-yard games Matt Forte has had against the Lions.

Johnny Knox fights to get back on field with Bears - Sean Jensen: The Bears’ seasonlong search for a receiver to complement Marshall has been a colossal disappointment. But while potential is discussed with Jeffery, Hester and Bennett, Johnny Knox produced, catching 88 passes for 1,687 yards and seven TDs in 30 games in 2010-2011.

Bears enjoy the luxury of salary-cap space - Sean Jensen: According to a league source, the Bears are among the top 10 teams in terms of cap space for 2013. Let's sign every top free agent available for a bag of marshmallows and trade for every top player for a Chicago Bears(Tm) pen!

Bears’ season has been impossible to figure out - Rick Telander: Is Lovie a good coach? Are these 2012 Bears any good? After 15 games, we still don’t know.

Toub: Lovie 'needs to stay here' - Moon Mullin: STs coordinator Dave Toub is very familiar with Lovie Smith and believes the head coach should stay in Chicago, regardless of what happens Sunday.

Dan Pompei's Bears mailbag - Readers' Q&A on Lovie Smith's future, trading down in the draft and Jay Cutler's confidence in his line.

[Video] CTL discussion - Was Brigg's Pro Bowl omission a snub? Is he HOF-worthy? Is Hester?

Brandon Marshall is Sun-Times Sportsperson of Year - Neil Hayes: By standing tall even when his team collapsed, Marshall was the Bears’ only consistent offensive performer. Oh, I dunno... some of the big lumps up front were consistently awful...

NFCN Blog - Kevin Seifert's 2012 all-division team. J-Webb didn't make the cut, tweets his nation about how he has a sadface and probably a ding-dong.


Polish sausage

Matt Bowen's playbook - How did Flacco beat Giants' Cover 0 pressure? All-22 breakdown of QB's TD pass to Torrey Smith.

Know thy enemies - Packers-Vikings preview: The Vikings (9-6) would need Chicago, Dallas and the Giants all to lose in order to get into the playoffs should they fall to the Packers.

No snowy Saturnalia-derived seasonal break for me this year. How about you?