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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons


    [size=18px]Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons[/size]

    By Larry Mayer
    December 12, 2005

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. - The Bears can clinch a playoff berth this weekend with a victory over the Falcons coupled with losses by the Giants and Cowboys.

    They can also secure the NFC North Division title with consecutive victories over Atlanta and Green Bay and would earn a first-round bye by winning their final three games.

    Adewale Ogunleye and the Bears are focused only on their next game Sunday night against Atlanta.
    The scenarios are intriguing to contemplate, especially for a team that's assured of just its second winning season since 1996. But the Bears insist that they're focused solely on their next game.

    "We feel like it is a playoff stretch now and we need to win out," said coach Lovie Smith. "That's the only mindset you can have. But in order for that to happen, you have to get the first one. It's really a one-game season as far as we're concerned with Atlanta."

    The Bears (9-4) would clinch at least a wildcard berth with a win this weekend coupled with losses by the Giants (9-4) and Cowboys (8-5) because they would be assured of a 10-6 record and would win tiebreakers based on a 9-1 conference mark. New York hosts Kansas City (8-5) Saturday and Dallas plays at Washington (7-6) Sunday.

    The Bears, currently the NFC's No. 2 seed, can secure the division crown by beating Atlanta and Green Bay because that would assure them of a one-game lead over the Vikings (8-5) and a better record against 12 common opponents, the third tiebreaker.

    The first two tiebreakers would not determine the champion in that scenario even if Minnesota beats Chicago in the season finale because that would only give the Vikings a split of the season series and the same 5-1 division record as the Bears.

    For now, the Bears aren't concerned with the Vikings, who are 6-0 since Brad Johnson replaced the injured Daunte Culpepper as starting quarterback.

    "We'll look at them the last game when we play them, but until then it's not about Minnesota," Smith said. "It's just about us and we have to take care of business and get back to what we've been doing the majority of the year."

    "I couldn't care less about Minnesota," added defensive end Adewale Ogunleye. "That's the honest truth. I couldn't care less about what they do right now. I'm just worried about this team and the Atlanta Falcons."

    Solo effort: Smith doesn't plan on playing Rex Grossman in spot duty at the expense of starter Kyle Orton simply to get the second-string quarterback acclimated to the speed of the game.

    "We will get our backup quarterback reps in practice, but we have to keep bringing our starting quarterback along," Smith said. "He'll play unless there's an injury or something like that."

    Secondary concerns: The Bears have been relatively healthy for most of the season, but injuries are mounting at the safety position. While Mike Brown (calf) and Chris Harris (knee) missed Sunday's game with injuries, Todd Johnson sustained a hip pointer in the contest.

    That forced the Bears to turn to undrafted free agent Brandon McGowan, a 5-11, 200-pound rookie who responded by tying linebacker Lance Briggs for the team lead with 11 tackles.

    "(McGowan) is a player that hasn't played much for us, but I thought he came in and did some good things," Smith said. "What I liked about him was just his aggressive nature of attacking the ballcarriers and trying to get them down.

    "He's on the squad for a reason, and as a strong safety you need to be able to tackle and play that type of football."

    Injuries inevitable: Also on Sunday, defensive tackle Ian Scott sprained his ankle and fullback Bryan Johnson hurt his lower back.

    Running back Cedric Benson (knee) and right guard Terrence Metcalf (shoulder), both of whom missed Sunday's game, likely also will be listed on what figures to be a lengthy injury report when it's released Wednesday.

    "It's a physical game and these things happen," Smith said. "Everyone is going through that this late in the year. You get injuries; that's why you have a 53-man squad. Other players have to step up to buy time for your other players to get back and that's the situation we're in.

    "We've lost some good players through injury for a short period of time hopefully, but they'll come back and guys like Brandon McGowan will step up and get us through."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    AngloVike's Avatar
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    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcon

    That's actually the best attitude to take regarding the game and I hope the Vikes do the same thing as well. If we lose against the Steelers & the Bears win then last weeks results will count for nothing in the race for the NFCN title. Of course if we win and they lose as well then they will start getting edgy and maybe the 'one game at a time' talk will vanish.
    It will be interesting to see how they react after Sunday's loss to the Steelers, they may come out fighting but could curl up and die if the Falcons get the early jump on them.
    Time spent annoying a Packer fan is never time wasted...

  3. #3
    NordicNed is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons

    Something tells me, those Bears are looking over their shoulders for sure..

    They see the Rath of the Puprple People apon them.......


  4. #4
    VKG4LFE's Avatar
    VKG4LFE is offline Jersey Retired Tetris Champion, Monkey GO Happy 4 Champion
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    Hartford, WI

    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons

    Go Falcons! That's all I gotta say.

    I get the most pissed off looks from people with my VKG 4 LFE Wisconsin license plate, and I LOVE IT!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons

    The Bears are definitely looking the rear view mirror - and despite all the talk about "one game at a time" they're praying that it doesn't come down to the regular season finale in Minnesota to decide the division.

  6. #6
    6-KINGS Guest

    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons

    The crack has appeared in that Bears D.
    They are toast.
    They hide it for a long time but now the blocking assignments and scheme are known.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons

    The Falcons defense is pourous. The Saints had big drives and plays against them.

    The Bears offense is definetly low scoring, so the Bears have to be on top of their game to keep that precious one game lead over the Vikings.

    This should be a good game if Vick's injury isn't serious.

  8. #8
    happy camper's Avatar
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    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcon

    objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
    "There is good and there is evil. And evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I will not compromise."

  9. #9
    Mr. Purple's Avatar
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    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons

    LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!! dear god let them win!

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

  10. #10
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Re: Playoffs within reach, but Bears focusing only on Falcons

    Thanks alot F'n Saints!!!

    First they get clobbered by the Falcons...then they hurt Vick right before he has to play against the Bears...f'n Saints!!!

    Add this guy to the Players Viking Fans Love To Hate List:

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