Eye on the Prize

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache says it won't be difficult for the Bears to avoid looking down the road to a potential playoff race that could go down to the wire.

"If we don't win Sunday, there is no playoff race," Blache said. "That's the only thing in our future. We painted ourselves into a corner, (and) in one aspect it's good. We're rats in a corner. We have no options. All we have is Sunday, and if we don't take care of Sunday, the rest of it is all talk.

"We have one fight to fight. We only got one. All the rest of that stuff doesn't matter because if we don't win on Sunday, we're not involved in it. We won't be involved in it. We've got a one-game season. Our playoffs (have) started. It's a single-game elimination. We lose, we're out."

A Bears loss coupled with a Minnesota win over Seattle at home would mathematically eliminate Chicago from postseason contention.

The Bears hanging their playoff hopes on their improved defense.

After taking a 38-23 Monday night pummeling from the Packers on Monday night, Sept. 29, the Bears had allowed an average of 37 points and 390 yards per game. They were also 0-3.

In their past six games, the Bears are 4-2 and have permitted an average of just 12 points and 265 yards.

The Bears are currently No. 8 in the NFL in passing yards allowed. They were 15th after the Packers game.

For the past 10 years, the Bears have tried, almost always in vain, to prevent Brett Favre from beating them.

But Favre has already thrown 18 interceptions, which is tied second most in the NFL, and is struggling to regain his magic touch while playing with a nagging thumb injury. So the Bears would probably rather take their chances with the ball in Favre's hand than in the grasp of running back Ahman Green, who shredded them for 176 rushing yards in Week Four, scoring on runs of 60 and six yards. He's third in the NFL with 1,383 yards.

"Quite honestly, I don't know if it's possible to make them one-dimensional," Blache said. "A lot of it's based on execution, it's who executes on a given Sunday. That's your goal, that's your objective as you go into the ball game is to try to create a situation where you make a game one-dimensional and then capitalize on that dimension. They're going to do everything they can to keep it from being one-dimensional. Everybody understands the pros and cons of the situation, you have to give them some credit too."

Although the Bears are the NFL's worst defense in sack percentage, they have had a respectable pass defense all season, and they never sack Favre anyway.

QB Kordell Stewart was sacked five times for 21 yards in losses in the first Packers game, but he ran 12 times for 71 yards and a TD.

RB Anthony Thomas is expected to start after missing last week's game with viral pneumonia. Thomas ran for 110 yards on just 13 carries (8.5-yard average) in the first meeting with the Packers this season.

WR Justin Gage is averaging 22.9 yards per catch, and is expected to see more action down the stretch. The rest of the team is averaging 9.0 yards per catch.

Bear Report Top Stories