In the Driver's Seat

The Bears got an early Christmas gift with both the Giants and Panthers losing on Saturday. A win over the Packers would not only clinch the NFC North crown but the No. 2 seed in the conference.

A first round bye is well within reach as the Bears travel to Green Bay to face a team reeling following a 48-3 loss to Baltimore on Monday night.

If the playoffs started today, the Bears would host would host the winner of the Giants vs. Panthers, but the seeding could change after next week's season finale.

No matter who their opponent is, if the Bears were to win their divisional matchup at Soldier Field they would at most have to play one road playoff game to get to the Super Bowl. Seattle clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs with their 28-13 win over the Colts Saturday.

The Seahawks (13-2) were a perfect 8-0 at home this season. While going into Qwest Field would be a difficult challenge, the Chicago defense will keep the Bears in any game and give the NFL's top ranked offense something to think about.

Worthy Campaign
MLB Brian Urlacher went into 2004 wanting to be the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Three separate league injuries forced him to miss 7 games and he failed to go to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

This year the only thing Urlacher wanted to talk about in training camp was winning. He's in the midst of just his second winning season since coming to Chicago as a first round pick in 2000. Being the captain of the league's best defense is starting to create a buzz about him taking the honor he had in mind last year.

"I think he's the best defensive player in the league," said coach Lovie Smith. "I think he should be the MVP of the National Football League."

If the Bears set a new NFL record for fewest points allowed it would make Urlacher a lock for the honor. The Bears have allowed 151 points this season, putting them within reach of the current mark for a 16-game season, which is 165, held by the 2000 Ravens.

In a League of Their Own
Heading into their matchup with Green Bay the Bears have given up 83 points fewer than the next team in the league. The record for point differential between the No. 1 and No. 2 defense is 65 points held by the 1985 Bears.

Chicago has played one fewer game than Indianapolis, who has given up 234 points through 15 games, but it would be hard to imagine the Bears surrendering more than 14 points against a Packers squad they held to a touchdown three weeks ago.

The 61 points the Bears allowed in their eight home games are the fewest any team has permitted since the NFL expanded schedules to 16 games in 1978.

The six consecutive home games in which the Bears allowed fewer than 10 points is the longest streak of that nature in the NFL since 1935, when the Packers held all seven of their home opponents to single digits.

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