Packers clinch consecutive NFC North titles with win over the Bears

With a hard-fought 21-13 win at Soldier Field, the Green Bay Packers have won the NFC North Division for the second consecutive season.

It’s a great day for Packers fans as the Chicago Bears are also sent into desperation mode in regards to their playoff hopes.

Green Bay (10-4) has now won 12 straight against divisional opponents and have their eye set on a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

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Let the battle for the NFC North between the Packers and Bears begin

This article could start out about how the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears take part in the NFL’s oldest rivalry, blah blah blah, but let’s not get too cliche.

For the most part, today’s players could care less about the league’s historic rivalries. As long as a pay-check is being deposited into their bank accounts, playing resumes as usual.

With that said, the Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall steered away from the norm by trash-talking the Packers and essentially making it known that this game is an important one.

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It’s Deja Vu All Over Again for the Chicago Bears

Injuries have played a role in the Bears recent struggles. But this version of the Bears yearly collapse has many other factors.

One way or another, the Bears always seem to find a way to fall short of their potential. Whether it be injuries, play calling, personnel, or Father Time, every aspect seems to make a yearly appearance at one point or another and derail the season.

This season has been no different. It is actually one of the most drastic “tale of two seasons” stories I’ve ever witnessed. Even though the Bears struggled mightily and finished the season 1-5 last year, the 1-4 stretch they are going through right now seems much worse.

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The Numbers Behind the Bears’ Domination of the Titans

Urlacher_Touchdown

Lovie Smith’s message to the team this week was to “have a fast start”. They clearly got the memo.

In 2000, the Tennessee Titans pulled off the famous “Music City Miracle”. In 2012, the Bears stormed into Nashville and put on a performance that from this day forth should be known as the “Music City Massacre” (I’m trademarking this).

 

If they hadn’t done so already, the Bear’s firmly placed their names amongst the NFC’s elite with their 51-20 shellacking of the Titans.

 

At 7-1 (I told you!), the Bears hold a 1.5 game lead in the division over the surging Green Bay Packers and are tied for 2nd in the NFL in winning percentage with their week 10 opponents, the Houston Texans.

 

The way the Bears dominated the Titans on Sunday was almost comical. They forced so many turnovers that defensive end Corey Wootton was visually disappointed when a pass he tipped fell harmlessly to the ground instead of being picked off. It felt like the players on defense were expecting to come away with the ball on every play.

 

Even though the defense stole the show once again, the offense and special teams put on a clinic as well. A one sided affair like this one is a gold mine for statistical gems. So without further ado, I present to you the best “Fun Facts” from Sunday’s game.

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Comparing Then and Now: 2006 Chicago Bears Vs. 2012 Chicago Bears

Charles_Tillman

With win number 5 in the books after Monday night, the Bears are enjoying an early 1.5 game lead on the rest of the NFC North through 6 games this season. Fortunately for us Bears fans, we don’t have to go too far back in our memories to find the last time the Bears started out this hot.

Flashback to 2006: the Bears steamrolled through their first 6 opponents to a 6-0 record and actually ended up winning 7 straight before dropping their first game of the season against the Miami Dolphins in week 9 (I’d say the Dolphins have ruined their fair share of Bear’s perfection over the past few decades).

There are clear similarities between the 2006 team and the 2012 team, the most glaring of which is their suffocating defense. But it’s the differences between these two teams that may surprise you.

And if the numbers hold true, this year’s team may actually go farther than the team that won the NFC Title in ’06.

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The Chicago Bears are feeling the pressure of the national spotlight

Cutler_Ground

Jay Cutler’s expression in this picture is all you need to know about the state of the Bears this week.

If there is one thing everyone seeks in life, it’s respect. The Bears have had the respect of Chicagoans for years.

But many fans like myself have found it baffling that year in and year out, the Bears would get no respect or media attention nationally. Maybe that has something to do with only 3 playoff trips in Lovie Smith’s tenure (9 years).

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Jay Cutler’s Emotional Outbursts: Misinterpreted or Misguided?

Jay-Cutler

Were Jay’s confrontations with his linemen warranted, or did he cross the line?

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the people jumping off of the Bear’s bandwagon that they were so eager to climb onto less than 1 week ago.

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Don’t Underestimate the Chicago Bears

Celebrations like this should be frequent this year for the Bears.

After the dust had settled following the Bear’s third consecutive season opening win at Soldier Field, there was only one thing going through my mind:

“The Bears are WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!”

But this time, it wasn’t as if Denny Green and the Arizona Cardinals “let us off the hook”.

The Bears couldn’t have had their opening 3 minutes go any worse if they planned to. But the following 45 minutes showed everyone what this team has the potential to do: hang points on people in a hurry, play suffocating defense, and dominate lesser opponents.

People may be quick to point out that the Colts were the worst team in the NFL last year, and that the Bears have gotten out to fast starts before only to flame out when it counts.

But Sunday’s game provided definitive signs to why this success will stick going forward.

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Indianapolis Colts open Andrew Luck era against Chicago Bears

Finally.

After such an incredibly turbulent offseason, perhaps the most turbulent one since infamously moving to Indianapolis in 1984, the Indianapolis Colts finally have a real football game to play today, the first one coached by Chuck Pagano and quarterbacked by Andrew Luck.

A new era. A fresh start.

We certainly won’t learn everything about this majorly overhauled roster after its contest with the Chicago Bears at 1 p.m. at Soldier Field. From what we saw during training camp and preseason action, though, can give us a good idea of what areas to watch specifically as the Colts truly enter a brave new post-Peyton Manning world.

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Chicago Bears 53-Man Roster

Dane Sanzenbacher

Did Dane Sanzenbacher survive the final roster cuts?

8 pm CT has come and gone on August 31st.

The Chicago Bears roster received some serious cosmetic surgery in the hours approaching the NFL mandated roster deadline. After signing one veteran, former Bear DT Amobi Okoye, the Bears carved away from 76 players down to 53.

The final roster is set… for now. The Bears can still sign and release players, but they must also make corresponding moves to keep the roster at or below 53 players.

So which players survived the carnage and who got their walking papers?

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Chicago Bears week 2 success; overshadowed by injuries

Brandon Hardin

Brandon Hardin is the most recent Bear to go down with an injury.

Following Saturday’s performance by the starting unit, Bears fans everywhere should be exhaling a huge sigh of relief this week.

Cutler-to-Marshall was finally on display, the line actually protected Jay (gasp!), and Israel Idonije led the first team defense in their solid effort to contain RG3.

Instead, fans and the Bears front office are forced to keep an eye on an ever-growing injuries list.

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2012 Fantasy Football Preview: WR

As the NFL season gets closer every day, so does your fantasy draft. Stephen Kelley’s fantasy football previews continue with a look at the surprisingly deep wide receiver position.

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