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Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

Some NFL pundits are calling this a bad season because of the unknown nature surrounding so many games. Bad teams winning, good teams losing, and the word "parity" has never been more fitting, but I love it. This has been a fun, albeit a little crazy, season in my opinion.

This picture will make a reappearance in a "create a caption" contest.
This picture will make a reappearance in a "create a caption" contest.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

1) Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker after kicking 6 field goals to defeat the Detroit Lions had this to say,

"My fantasy team is benefiting from it," Tucker cracked after the game about his six field goals. "Fantasy owners around the world, I hope you appreciate the points."

This has to be up for NFL quote of the year.

And I wonder what round he picked himself in?

2) Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz has officially joined the hot seat with Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. If I'm either team, I have Lovie Smith's phone number on speed dial.

I think Lovie would be a good fit in either place, as well as Houston, Washington or Minnesota, three other teams that could be looking for a new head coach.

In all there could be seven or eight teams looking for a new head coach next month.

3) Sticking with Dallas for one more. One week after failing to stick with the run against the inept Chicago Bears run defense, they only gave DeMarco Murray 18 carries against the Green Bay Packers. Murray had 134 yards on those 18 carries (7.4 ypc). On the season Murray has played in 12 games, and he's only gone over 20 carries in a game twice. He's averaging 5.5 yards per carry, the 2nd highest of any back this year.

4) Jamaal Charles. Wow. That is all.

5) The Washington coach / owner / QB / tiff in Washington is heating up. Mike Shanahan claims he wants to return, but must realize he'll likely be fired. If he comes back he may bring in new coordinators, meaning his son Kyle who runs the offense would be replaced. Kyle Shanahan seems to be annoyed by this whole mess too.

Yet Kyle Shanahan last week sounded like someone pitching himself for a new job and expressed annoyance that people ''always put an 's' on the last name of the 'Shanahans''' when discussing the Redskins, a first possible hint that the father-son experiment had run its course.

Working with family is always touchy to begin with, having to answer directly to your Dad adds to the trickiness.

6) If the St. Louis Rams can settle their quarterback situation next season, I think they could be a serious playoff contender. Robert Quinn is a legit defensive player of the year candidate at defensive end. He has 15 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and one returned for a TD.

7) Peyton Manning is the Sports Illustrated sportsman of the year for 2013. While I think he's an awesome football player and his comeback from surgery was phenomenal, I'm not sure what he's done in 2013 to deserve such an honor? In his teams biggest stage of the year, back on 1/12/13, he threw two interceptions in a playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

8) In case you're wondering, Aaron Rodgers still hasn't received clearance to play this Sunday, but he plans to practice this week. Green Bay will prepare as though Matt Flynn is their starting QB, then if Rodgers receives the go-ahead, they'll adjust accordingly.

The tone of Rodgers' weekly radio show makes some believe that he will be held out this week too.

9) If you don't think getting Lance Briggs back is a big deal for the Bears, check out this tweet.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Despite missing 7 games, <a href=";src=hash">#Bears</a> LB Lance Briggs still tied for 4th in NFL with 9 stuffs (tackling rusher for negative yards, per STATS).</p>&mdash; Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) <a href="">December 17, 2013</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

It bears repeating, but Briggs returning will also get Khaseen Green to the bench, and limit Jon Bostic's snaps.

10) You do realize that both the Bears and Packers control their own destinies. Their week 17 match up could be for the NFC North Championship.

We all remember what happened the last time the Bears played the Pack in week 17 with a chance to boot them from the postseason?