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Quick Hits: Bears gearing up for NFC North showdown


The Bears will face a tough task Sunday night when they return to action following their bye week by visiting the NFC North-leading Packers at Lambeau Field. But coach Matt Nagy's team is looking forward to the challenge.

"I just know that from the character of our players and the competitors they are," Nagy said, "that they are certainly not going to back down, and they will certainly be excited to get back out there and fight."

The Bears (5-5) will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak and climb to within one game of the Packers (7-3), who have won 17 of the last 20 meetings between the longtime combatants. Green Bay boasts star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a two-time NFL MVP whose 103.1 career passer rating is the best in league history.

"When you look at where we are at right now and losing these four games as we did heading into the bye, it gives us the opportunity to go against one of the best teams in the NFL with one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in this game," Nagy said. 

The Bears certainly know what's at stake Sunday night in Green Bay: The chance to snap their losing streak and boost their playoff chances in the national spotlight on the road against a fierce rival that sits atop the NFC North.

"We won't care about how pretty it is or how ugly it is as long as we get the win," Nagy said. "Because what that does is it breaks that negative momentum that can come when you're losing, and it can create some positive energy. 

"Now, you throw on top of that it's a division game. It's the Packers. It's against a really good football team that's well coached and has a lot of great players. That just makes it even more exciting for our guys. So I'm excited to see the competition level of where we're at and how we're going to respond to where we're at right now."

The Packers will look to rebound after blowing a 28-14 halftime lead in a 34-31 overtime loss to the Colts Sunday in Indianapolis.

"You saw a team that came out throwing a bunch of haymakers early on in that first half, and I thought Indianapolis did a really good job of weathering the storm and they never panicked," Nagy said. "They came out and did a very good job of limiting them in the third quarter, then got the ball and were effective in scoring touchdowns, and then before you know it, it's a tie game. And now you are in situational football and that's the NFL. 

"I think anything we learned from that game is, regardless if you are up by two scores or down by two scores, you have to fight and it will always come down to the very end."

Sad news in Dallas: Former Bears safety Markus Paul, who's in his third season as Cowboys strength and conditioning coordinator, was rushed to a Dallas area hospital Tuesday morning after suffering what was described as a medical emergency. No further information was released. 

Paul, 54, was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1989 draft out of Syracuse. He played all but one of his 71 career NFL games with the Bears, making 15 starts and recording seven interceptions over five seasons. 

Paul has worked as an NFL strength and conditioning coach for the past 22 years with the Saints (1998-99), Patriots (2000-04), Jets (2005-06), Giants (2007-18) and Cowboys (2018-present) He's won five Super Bowl rings, three with the Patriots and two with the Giants.

Roster move: The Bears on Tuesday waived defensive tackle Anthony Rush. The 6-5, 350-pounder signed with the team Nov. 10 but was inactive in a Nov. 18 loss to the Vikings.

Rush entered the NFL with the Eagles last year as an undrafted free agent from Alabama-Birmingham. He appeared in 13 NFL games—nine with the Eagles in 2019 and four with the Seahawks this year—registering 14 tackles, 3.0 tackles-for-loss, two pass breakups and 0.5 sacks.

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