Finally, a Bears-Vikings finale in Minnesota with meaning

Up is down at Halas Hall where the Bears are preparing for the postseason instead of vacation

Up is down at Halas Hall where the Bears are preparing for the postseason instead of vacation

The NFC North champion Chicago Bears are rolling along with eight wins in nine games and their first playoff appearance in eight years approaching.

The Bears entered the game knowing they faced a potentially unusual Sunday.

"This is a playoff game", nose tackle Linval Joseph said. They're a game behind the Los Angeles Rams (11-3) for the No. 3 seed and hold a potential tiebreaker, although the Rams are heavy favorites to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Los Angeles.

Minnesota (8-6-1) must defeat or tie Chicago (11-4), or have Philadelphia lose to or tie Washington in order to claim the No. 6 seed and likely earn a trip to the Windy City to face the Bears either January 5 or 6. If the Vikings don't, they probably won't get into the playoffs (unless Adrian Peterson can do them a favor and run over the Philadelphia Eagles).

"Our team feeds off the crowd and what they bring", Cousins said. There's no magic formula. "So, you do all you can, give everything you have".




The Saints (13-2) are the top seed, having clinched the NFC South and home-field throughout the NFC playoffs. It had its fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season last week against Detroit, with no turnovers. That means Philadelphia can only find their way into the No.3 vs. No.6 seed matchup. Maybe he's one of the guys who needs to continue to play through the final quarter on Sunday, regardless of the Vikings score? There has to be heightened sense of energy and focus and study time.

The Bears said they're not seeking payback for Vikings safety Harrison Smith, whose hit on a sliding Trubisky late in the game in Chicago on November 18 drove the second-year quarterback's throwing shoulder into the ground and wound up sidelining him for the following two games. But it now owns the sixth seed in the NFC entering its regular season finale against Chicago, the NFC North champions. The thing is, none of us truly know that. In that game, they ran just 14 times for 22 yards, part of the reason Zimmer fired John DeFilippo three weeks later. Cousins took only two sacks, but each of them lost 8 yards.

Cousins also threw two interceptions against the Bears, whose 27 interceptions lead the National Football League by a wide margin. What I mean by that is, if halftime comes and things look out of hand for the Rams and 49ers, maybe he rests some guys who he knows are a little exhausted.

"All the hypotheticals or where we would be at or what we are going to be based on the results of this weekend, I know that we're playing this game to win", Trubisky said.

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