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Bears can grab share of first place with victory

Posted Dec 8, 2013

With the Lions losing to the Eagles 34-20 in blizzard conditions Sunday in Philadelphia, the Bears can tie Detroit atop the NFC North with a win Monday night over the Cowboys.

With the Lions losing to the Eagles 34-20 in blizzard conditions Sunday in Philadelphia, the Bears can tie Detroit atop the NFC North with a win Monday night over the Cowboys.

The Lions led 14-0 and 20-14 before the Eagles scored the game's final 20 points. Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy rushed for a team-record 217 yards, including touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards.

Since beating the Bears 21-19 on Nov. 10 at Soldier Field, the Lions have lost three of four games. The Bears also have lost three of four and six of nine since opening the season 3-0.

The Lions (7-6) currently lead the Bears (6-6) and Packers (6-6-1) by a half-game. Green Bay rallied from a 21-10 deficit Sunday to beat the Falcons 22-21 at Lambeau Field. The Packers had been 0-4-1 since Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone Nov. 4 against the Bears.

The Lions own the tiebreaker over the Bears by virtue of their season sweep. Detroit hosts the Ravens and Giants before visiting the Vikings. After hosting the Cowboys Monday night, the Bears visit the Browns and Eagles before hosting the Packers. Green Bay visits the Cowboys and hosts the Steelers before closing the season in Chicago.

Frigid forecast: The temperature at kickoff Monday night is expected to be around 18 degrees with a wind chill of four degrees. The Bears prepared for the conditions by practicing outside in frigid weather Friday and Saturday.

“It’s a part of being in Chicago,” said right guard Kyle Long. “It’s part of the home-field advantage. It’s something we take pride in; that toughness, that ability to go out there and play in the cold and any adverse weather conditions. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

Coach Marc Trestman said that low temperatures alone don’t necessarily impact games very much.

“What’s a factor in a game is the wind,” he said. “The cold isn’t a factor like the wind can be a factor, and that comes to play-calling, game decisions, special teams decisions and things like that. But the weather as it is or the cold weather if the wind is minimal really should not affect the game.”

Wright stuff: After sitting out last Sunday’s loss to the Vikings with a hamstring injury, safety Major Wright practiced without restrictions Saturday and is expected to start Monday night.

Veteran Craig Steltz replaced Wright in Minnesota and tied for the team lead with 12 tackles.

“Major will be starting,” Trestman said. “We need everybody right now. Craig is such a big part of our special teams. We lost him last week with special teams. So we’re getting the most out of everybody, and certainly we need them both on the field. They’ll both play extensively.

“Major will start in the back end and Craig will be ready to go. But we need him on a number of special teams and we’ll get him back for that and that will be good.”

On the mend: Quarterback Jay Cutler practiced on a limited basis this week for the first time since sustaining a high ankle sprain Nov. 10 in a loss to the Lions. But Trestman isn’t sure whether Cutler will be able to return next Sunday when the Bears visit Cleveland.
 
“I can’t say that,” Trestman said. “I can say that he did very well this week in the first part of this getting-back-into-it type of thing. He didn’t have any residual effects [Saturday] morning. There was no soreness or anything like that, which is good. We can be optimistic, but we can’t be definitive right now.”




Frigid forecast: The temperature at kickoff Monday night is expected to be around 18 degrees with a wind chill of about four degrees. The Bears prepared for the cold conditions by practicing outside in frigid weather Friday and Saturday.

 

“It’s a part of being in Chicago,” said right guard Kyle Long. “It’s part of the home-field advantage. It’s something we take pride in; that toughness, that ability to go out there and play in the cold and any adverse weather conditions. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

 

Coach Marc Trestman said that low temperatures alone don’t necessarily impact games very much.

 

“What’s a factor in a game is the wind,” he said. “The cold isn’t a factor like the wind can be a factor, and that comes to play-calling, game decisions, special teams decisions and things like that. But the weather as it is or the cold weather if the wind is minimal really should not affect the game.”

 

Wright stuff: After sitting out last Sunday’s loss to the Vikings with a hamstring injury, safety Major Wright practiced without restrictions Saturday and is expected to start Monday night.

 

Veteran Craig Steltz replaced Wright in Minnesota and tied for the team lead with 12 tackles.

 

“Major will be starting,” Trestman said. “We need everybody right now. Craig is such a big part of our special teams. We lost him last week with special teams. So we’re getting the most out of everybody, and certainly we need them both on the field. They’ll both play extensively.

 

“Major will start in the back end and Craig will be ready to go. But we need him on a number of special teams and we’ll get him back for that and that will be good.”

 

On the mend: Quarterback Jay Cutler practiced on a limited basis this week for the first time since sustaining a high ankle sprain Nov. 20 in a loss to the Lions. But Trestman isn’t sure whether Cutler will be able to return next Sunday when the Bears visit Cleveland.

 

“I can’t say that,” Trestman said. “I can say that he did very well this week in the first part of this getting-back-into-it type of thing. He didn’t have any residual effects [Saturday] morning. There was no soreness or anything like that, which is good. We can be optimistic, but we can’t be definitive right now.”

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