BEARS - S Mike Brown (foot), WR Airese Currie (foot), DT Dusty Dvoracek (foot), FB Bryan Johnson (leg), S Brandon McGowan (Achilles), Jamar Williams (shoulder)
PATRIOTS - TE Garrett Mills (thigh), OG Billy Yates (leg), CB Randall Gay (hamstring), S Tebucky Jones (hamstring), WR Matt Shelton (knee), S Mel Mitchell (arm), LB Barry Gardner (leg), RB Patrick Pass (foot)
BEARS - CB Ricky Manning Jr. (suspension)
PATRIOTS - S Rodney Harrison (shoulder)
BEARS - none
PATRIOTS - none
BEARS - CB Dante Wesley (knee)
PATRIOTS - CB Ellis Hobbs (wrist), Corey Mays (hamstring), P Josh Miller (shoulder), CB Asante Samuel (knee), CB Chad Scott (groin), TE David Thomas (groin), S Eugene Wilson (hamstring), TE Daniel Graham (ankle)
BEARS - TE Desmond Clark (foot), RB Thomas Jones (groin)
PATRIOTS - DE Richard Seymour (elbow), QB Tom Brady (right shoulder)
Bears Offense vs. Patriots Defense
Wide receiver Mark Bradley has returned from a high ankle sprain to give the Bears offense a boost the last two games (eight receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns) while Bernard Berrian has been limited by a rib injury. Berrian tried to play last week but wasn't quite himself. He didn't suffer any further damage and should be close to full strength for the Patriots.
The Patriots shut out the Green Bay Packers last week even though their secondary was severely depleted. Safety Rodney Harrison (shoulder) and cornerbacks Eugene Wilson (hamstring) and Asante Samuel (knee) missed the game against the Packers. Chad Scott and Artrell Hawkins picked up the slack at cornerback while James Sanders started for Harrison. Defensive end Ty Warren (3.5 sacks) returned to action last week after missing the Jets game in Week 10. Former Bear Rosevelt Colvin (3.5 sacks) starts at one of the outside linebacker spots for New England, although he's not the same player he was before he suffered a terrible hip injury several years ago. He's also playing in a different system.
The Patriots are the second straight 3-4 scheme Chicago will match up against. They ran well against the Jets, but the Bears will be facing a team that represents what the Jets might be when they grow up. New England has held three of their last five opponents to seven points or less. Running backs Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson combined for over 170 rushing yards last week. They'll find the going tougher against a New England defense allowing opponents only 76 yards rushing per game. Their ability to disguise pass coverages and make late shifts will need to be accounted for yet again. Look for the Bears to challenge the secondary of the Patriots with more intermediate routes than they ran against the Jets while continuing to see if they can hitch their wagon to Jones and Benson.
Bears Defense vs. Patriots Offense
Cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. will miss the contest this week due to a league-issued suspension stemming from an off-the-field incident this past offseason. Manning is the Bears' leader in interceptions and serves as the top nickel defender. An injury to Dante Wesley further thins out the Bears at the cornerback position. The Bears have the option to bring free safety Danieal Manning over to cover the slot while having both safeties covered with Todd Johnson and Chris Harris. Safety Cameron Worrell and cornerback Devin Hester might see additional action as well.
The Patriots run a balanced offense led by Tom Brady. Brady is a savvy quarterback with great accuracy and the ability to spread the ball around to all of his receivers. He will attack the entire field. Their ground game is two-pronged. Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney share the carries for an offense that averages 129 rushing yards per contest. There's even balance among the ball-carriers. Only once has either Dillon or Maroney topped 100 yards in a single game this year.
The Patriots represent the biggest challenge of the season for the Bears on defense. On the other side, the Patriots will look to the Bears in a similar light. Despite their 7-3 mark, none of the teams New England has defeated this year currently has a winning record. All three of the Patriots' losses have been at home in Gillette Stadium. Look for New England to try to exploit the gaps in the Bears' zone coverage and test their ability to stop the run. They may have seen some things from the Jets last week in terms of running the no-huddle offense to keep the Bears from some of their substitutions. Expect the Bears to play more man coverage and to load up the box to stop the Patriots running attack.
Get Chicago Bears Tickets at The Ticket Chest