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Bears remain hungry after winning NFC North


Coach Matt Nagy reiterated Wednesday that the Bears are thrilled about clinching the NFC North title, but they're far from satisfied.

There's a whole lot more to accomplish, starting with improving their playoff seed and then continuing their quest for a Super Bowl championship.

"The message to our team right now and where we're at is one of not being satisfied," Nagy said. "It's easy to be happy with where we're at, but we're not satisfied, and I think that that's a good thing. We did reach a goal that we had, but we want more."

The Bears are still in the hunt for a first-round bye in the playoffs as they prepare for Sunday's game against the 49ers in San Francisco. They will then finish the regular season a week later when they visit the Vikings in Minnesota.

"We know that there's a lot more hard work ahead of us," Nagy said. "We've got to stay focused and that's why we're going to attack this week against San Fran and do everything that we possibly can to win."

Currently the third seed in the NFC playoffs, the Bears (10-4) have assured themselves of hosting a playoff game by winning their division. But they need to supplant one of the top two seeds—the Saints (12-2) or Rams (11-3)—to earn a first-round bye.

To catch the Saints, the Bears would have to win their final two games and the Saints would have to lose at home to the Steelers (8-5-1) and Panthers (6-8). To catch the Rams, the Bears would have to gain one game over Los Angeles, which closes the season by visiting the Cardinals (3-11) and hosting the 49ers (4-10).

The Bears also could slip into the fourth spot if they lose both of their games and the Cowboys (8-6) beat the Buccaneers on the road and the Giants at home.

Nagy won't even consider resting his starters heading into the playoffs unless the seeds are cemented before the Bears' season finale in Minnesota.

"We're in a great situation right now where we could be a lot of different seeds," Nagy said. "The question that comes up of resting starters, that's not even in the world of consideration for us. We're trying to win. There are too many other things that can happen. The fact of the matter is realistically speaking we can be a higher seed. If you have an opportunity to do that, why wouldn't you try for that?

"Unless you're locked in and you can't move, that's when you have to decide what you want to do. But right now, we have to win."

This season Nagy has done an excellent job of getting his team to focus on the task at hand following disappointing losses and important wins. The challenge this week will be to avoid a letdown following an emotional division-clinching victory over the rival Packers.

"It's on me and a bunch of the other leaders on the team," said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. "I think it'll tell a lot about the type of guys we have. It's kind of like coming off a bye or coming off a loss. It's how you're going to respond to it.

"We've clinched. There's certain ways you can go about this and we've just got to have a workman's attitude, come to work, continue to get better, stay rested and try to go 1-0 each week. It doesn't matter if it's the regular season, postseason, we've just got to continue to get better, stick together and want to do great things."