BEARS - S Mike Brown (foot), WR Airese Currie (foot), DT Dusty Dvoracek (foot), DT Tommie Harris (hamstring), FB Bryan Johnson (leg), S Brandon McGowan (Achilles), Jamar Williams (shoulder)
LIONS - OG Tyrone Hopson (knee), DE Bill Swancutt (knee), WR Scottie Vines (hernia), RB Shawn Bryson (knee), OG Damien Woody (foot), S Idrees Bashir (hand), DT Marcus Bell (IR-hand), RB Brian Calhoun (knee), DT Shaun Cody (toe), DE James Hall (shoulder), RB Kevin Jones (foot), DT Shaun Rogers (knee), OG Blaine Saipaia (chest), OL Rex Tucker (knee)
BEARS - DT Tank Johnson (suspension)
LIONS - OG Ross Verba (groin)
BEARS - none
LIONS - LB Teddy Lehman (hamstring)
BEARS - OT John Tait (ankle), CB Charles Tillman (back), RB Thomas Jones (ribs), LB Leon Joe (hamstring), S Todd Johnson (ankle), CB Nathan Vasher (hamstring)
LIONS - TE Marcus Pollard (hamstring)
BEARS - OG Ruben Brown (shoulder), LB Hunter Hillenmeyer (thigh)
LIONS - CB Fernando Bryant (concussion), WR Eddie Drummond (hip), OT Jeff Backus (foot)
Bears Offense vs. Lions Defense
Left tackle John Tait aggravated a sprained ankle during the Rams game and was given last week off against Tampa Bay. John St. Clair started in his place, and although he suffered a breakdown or two, he held up well enough to allow the offense to operate efficiently. Thomas Jones has been playing through ankle and groin injuries over the last few months and might see a lighter workload. This will allow Cedric Benson to continue his development. It also could mean super-backup Adrian Peterson gets a few more touches against one of the weaker run defenses in the NFL. Although quarterback Rex Grossman is healthy, it wouldn't be surprising to see Brian Griese find his way into the game to work off any rust he might have. It will be important to have Griese ready for the playoff run in case of an emergency.
The Lions have lost the majority of their top players on the defensive line. Shaun Rogers and James Hall are out for the balance of the season. Kalimba Edwards is likely to get the start at end for Hall and Anthony Bryant at tackle for Rogers. Shaun Cody, Marcus Bell and Bill Swancutt are also on injured reserve. The Packers rushed for 139 yards against this Lions front last week. Linebacker Teddy Lehman hasn't been healthy enough to contribute for the majority of the year.
The Bears got out to a big lead last week against Tampa but folded in the fourth quarter. They blew a chance to get some of their injured players off the field. With the top seed clinched, they won't need to go as far before lifting their regulars. It will be interesting to see the approach Lovie Smith employs. The Bears should lean more heavily on their running attack this week.
Bears Defense vs. Buccaneers Offense
With Tommie Harris lost for the season to a hamstring injury and Tank Johnson serving a suspension for off-the-field issues, the depth at defensive tackle is being tested. Fortunately for the Bears, they're blessed with talent at that position. Ian Scott and Alfonso Boone are players worthy of starting on most NFL rosters. Antonio Garay and the versatile Israel Idonije will also get worked into the rotation. Nathan Vasher (hamstring) hasn't played in a few weeks, and the pass defense has suffered. Ricky Manning Jr. will start at cornerback again if Vasher is held out. He's much better as the nickel defender. Charles Tillman has been playing through a sore back. If he's not able to play, Devin Hester and Dante Wesley will be expected to contribute. Todd Johnson is trying to find his way back from an ankle that has kept him out for the last few weeks. It has meant more time for Chris Harris. On a positive note, Harris's performance has steadily improved from game to game. Tampa Bay burned the Bears banged-up secondary for two big plays in last week's contest.
The Lions are extremely thin at running back. They've already lost Kevin Jones, Shawn Bryson and Brian Calhoun for the season. Arlen Harris and Aveion Cason are expected to share the duties. Wide receiver Mike Furrey has been a pleasant surprise amid a season of disappointment. The former New York Dragon of the Arena Football League leads Detroit with 77 receptions. He was a top receiver in the AFL and made the switch from safety back to wideout while in the NFL. Linemen Damien Woody, Rex Tucker and Ross Verba are all out for either this game or the entire season. Detroit has allowed 55 sacks.
Vasher and Johnson are making progress and might see some action on the field this week. The Bears secondary has been more of a question than the line in recent weeks. It doesn't matter what the state of the Bears defense is to the Lions. They've been pass-happy all season long and will show no signs of letting up. If there was ever a time for it, this is the week Alex Brown, Mark Anderson and Adewale Ogunleye should be able to pin their ears back and pad their sack numbers.
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