Bears/Chiefs game scout

The Chicago Bears will take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Soldier Field in a must-win game. We go over everything you need to know to prepare yourself for this weekend's matchup.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 12/4/11
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TV: CBS, Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots


Caleb Hanie's first career start was predictably uneven, but the Bears will use mostly the same plan anticipating more man coverage outside and a safety in the box from the Chiefs. Marion Barber has stepped up to give the running game a jolt as Matt Forte seems to be missing fewer tacklers. The Chiefs, lacking a bell-cow runner, could start Tyler Palko for the third time or turn to Kyle Orton. The Bears match up well with the Chiefs' jumbo receivers, but 5-7 dynamo Tim Jennings can be too aggressive for his own good, a trait the Chiefs no doubt studied.


The Chiefs have gone 27 possessions without a touchdown. ... The Bears have 16 takeaways in their last five games.


QB Tyler Palko
Tim Umphrey/Getty

It might be one of the most unusual quarterback controversies in the NFL over the last decade.

Just three weeks ago Tyler Palko and Kyle Orton were mired in very similar situations with very different teams. Palko was with the Chiefs and he couldn't get on the field because the snaps all belonged to starter Matt Cassel. Orton was with the Denver Broncos and he couldn't get on the field because the snaps all belonged to the greatest phenomenon in recent NFL history, Tim Tebow.

On November 13, that all changed. Cassel broke his right hand and Tebow led the Broncos to a victory over the Chiefs. A day later, Orton asked the Broncos for his release and Palko became the Chiefs starter.

Now in the first days of a new month, Palko and Orton are together, splitting the snaps with the first team offense and essentially in a competition for the last five quarterback starts of the 2011 Chiefs season.

"Tyler is our starter; we are getting Kyle ready to play," Haley said. "Kyle's not like a guy that's been here for a couple of years. He might have to play and he might not, but we've got to get ready to win a big game. We've got to do it by whatever means possible and if it takes playing three quarterbacks and going wildcat 20 plays, we've got to do that. Then the week after this, it'll be a similar deal."

Palko has the edge despite his 0-2 record as a starter and his seven turnovers that were such important factors in both defeats. Orton will get his second full practice on Thursday, and while there is ground to make up, his 66 previous starts for the Bears and Broncos allow him to catch on very quickly.

"For me it's a race to see how fast I can understand the nuances and little difference of this offense," Orton said after Wednesday's practice. "I'll go in and do my role as best I can, whatever that role is. I don't make the decision on whether I play or not, I just go out and prepare and try to play well on the practice field."

Palko says his confidence hasn't been fractured by his poor numbers from his first two NFL starts.

"Other than probably having a lot of people in Kansas City that are mad at me for turning the ball over seven times, I really haven't changed that much," Palko said. "There's a sick feeling in your gut because you know you didn't give your team the best chance to win turning the ball over that many times. It's a learning experience and you just have to continue learning from it."



QB Kyle Orton
Jamie Squire/Getty

--QB Kyle Orton got his first chance in nearly two months to get extended practice time with the first-team offense. After losing the starting job in Denver to Tim Tebow, Orton saw little practice reps. Released by the Broncos and claimed by the Chiefs last week, he did not arrive in Kansas City early enough to get any time with his new teammates.

--OT David Mims is a very big young man, standing 6-8 and weighing 335 pounds, and now that he's off the practice squad and on the active roster, the Chiefs are anxious to see him play. Out of Virginia Union, a Division II school where he was a four-year starter, Mims was an undrafted free agent when he signed with Kansas City. He's got very long arms and good quick feet.

--QB Tyler Palko continues to be viewed as the Chiefs' starting quarterback, according to head coach Todd Haley. Despite being 0-2 as Matt Cassel's replacement with no TD throws and six interceptions, Palko reportedly will get another chance this Sunday against Chicago.

--CB Javier Arenas needs to break one in the return game, especially when the Chiefs are facing a team like Chicago with a weapon like Devin Hester. Arenas has returned 99 punts and kickoffs in his two-year career without a score.

-- SS Jon McGraw seems to have finally gotten over the neck/shoulder injury that hampered him throughout the month of November. McGraw suffered the injury on Halloween evening against the Chargers.

-- LG Ryan Lilja has practiced all week and should be back in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Bears. Lilja suffered a blow to the head in the New England game and missed playing time against Pittsburgh. There's also the chance that Lilja will share the position with rookie Rodney Hudson, who did a good job filling in for him.


--WR Devin Hester missed part of Thursday's practice, but it wasn't injury related, although he has been hampered in recent weeks with ankle and shin injuries. He has caught one pass in the last four games and none in the last three.

--CB D.J. Moore (ankle), was limited in Thursday's practice and could be probable by Friday.

--NT Anthony Adams (back), who was a healthy scratch last week, did not practice on Thursday.

--CB Charles Tillman (knee) was a full participant in Thursday's practice and will play Sunday.

--CB Zack Bowman (groin) was a full participant Thursday, and he is expected to play on Sunday.

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