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The Bears Den: December 20, 2013 - Week 16 news & notes

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Larry Mayer's Chalk Talk - Larry on whether the Bears can win the NFC North if they lose to the Packers in the season finale, a breakdown of two Long families, and if Cutler is forcing passes to Marshall.

Bears need long-term deal for Cutler - Brad Biggs: The Cowboys and Lions were forced to sign their QBs to lucrative extensions because of salary-cap implications. The Bears will need to sign Cutler or let him walk.

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Looking ahead: Bears-Eagles

Briggs returning in nick of time - Bob LeGere: Presence on the field couldn't come at a better time, as the Eagles lead the NFL in rushing yards and average yards per rush.

Bears need Briggs, road strips to slow down Eagles - Mark Potash: The Bears apparently are struggling so much just to make tackles, they’ve lost the ability to gang up and strip the ball.

Shades of the old gang - Jon Greenberg: The Lovie Smith defense is all but dead, but there's no better way for them to go out than to make a stand now.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - How much impact will Briggs have if he returns, and more on Bears-Eagles. [KAPCON: 5]

Game preview - Michael C. Wright & Phil Sheridan discuss some of the issues facing both teams.

Know thy enemy - Dan Durkin with an X&Os look at the Eagles' wheel routes.

Know thy enemy - Patrick Finley: Giving up yardage but able to force turnovers, the Eagles' defense is crazy - but not crazy-good.

Matt Bowen: Scouting the Bears - Cutler will have opportunities to throw deep, inside breaking routes to Marshall and Jeffery against Eagles.

[Video] CSNChicago discussion - Cutler dealing with the pressure; can he lead the team to victory on Sunday? [KAPCON: 5]

Trestman may yet rest starters - Adam Hoge: Bears coach isn’t ruling out the idea of resting key players if the situation warrants it.

Team notes - Larry Mayer: Cutler more relaxed after tough week; Briggs practiced on limited basis second straight day; Marshall limited with sore quad muscle; safety Sean Cattouse re-signed to practice squad.

Team notes - Patrick Finley: Forte aiming for 2,000 yards from scrimmage as tribute to offense; Bush hoping for first taste of playoffs; injury and roster notes.

Team notes - Adam Hoge: Briggs on track to play Sunday; Eagles defense confusing for opponents; injury notes.

Team notes - Bob LeGere: Trestman not concerned with playoff scenarios, for now; Bears block out "noise" about QBs; Cutler at ease with offense; more notes.

Bears-Eagles could be vital or not too important - Rick Telander: If they already know it'll come down to Bears-Packers before Sunday night's kickoff, will Trestman rest key starters?

Stats & Info - Rob Nelson with some matchups from the game to keep an eye on.


Line at forefront of offense's emergence - Larry Mayer: Skill-position players usually receive most of the attention. But any conversation about the Bears' record-breaking performance on offense this season should also include the line.

Four Downs - Jeff Dickerson & Jon Greenberg on whether Bears have to score 30+ on Sunday; Forte vs McCoy; if Cutler could be benched if he struggles; is Briggs the most important player on the D?

Joniak’s Journal - Jeff Joniak: Briggs should help plug some leaks; Eagles' offense and defense both big challenges for Bears; every snap matters for helping Bears improve.

Bears mailbag - Brad Biggs' readers' Q&A on Pro Bowlers on the O-line, Briggs' possible return, re-signing McCown, Hester's future, and free agency potential [potential what? - Den].

Bears mailbag - Jeff Dickerson answers readers' queries on whether Tillman returns to the Bears, Lovie Smith's chances of returning as an NFL head coach, if any Bears coaches could be up for promotion, and whether Martellus Bennett is worth his contract.

Special teams strategy sparked Bears' rally - Dan Wiederer: Decision to hem Browns back from kickoff at midway and subsequent punt return helped set up short go-ahead TD drive.

'Fog Bowl' memories a lot clearer now than the game was then - Moon Mullin: Maybe the best measure of the Fog Bowl is a touch of amusing irony. Nobody could really see much and yet everybody there remembers vividly the game they could barely see.

Polish sausage

Know thy enemy: Lions - Kyle Meinke: 1-4 in the last five games and plummeting from first to third in the division, Stafford has more turnovers than any single player in the NFL during that stretch, but OC Scott Linehan doesn't think he has peaked as a QB.

Know thy enemy: Packers - Rob Demovsky: Sure looks like another week with Matt Flynn for Packers. Jason Wilde: Rodgers looks game-ready.

Know thy enemy: Vikings - Chris Tomasson: Why the Vikings have rebounded since starting 1-7.