Miller: Marshall is worth his weight in gold

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Miller: Marshall is worth his weight in gold

The Bears are at the halfway point of the season and prized off-season acquisition Brandon Marshall currently ranks second in the NFL in receiving. Only Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne has more yardage, but Marshall leads the NFC. Here is a list of Marshalls closest challengers and their current rank:

Rk
PlayerTeam
Rec
Yds
Avg
YdsG
Lng
TD
20
40
1st
1st
FUM
1
Reggie Wayne
IND
61
835
13.7
104.430T
3
15
0
44
72.1
1
2
Brandon Marshall
CHI
59
797
13.5
99.6
39T
7
11
0
41
69.5
0
3
Calvin Johnson
DET
48
767
16.0
95.9
51
1
15
1
38
79.2
0
4
Demaryius Thomas
DEN
45
756
16.8
94.5
71T
4
17
4
28
62.2
3
5
Wes Welker
NE
60
736
12.3
92.0
59
2
7
2
35
58.3
1
6
A.J. Green
CIN
51
735
14.4
91.9
73T
8
8
3
37
72.5
1
7
Victor Cruz
NYG
57
717
12.6
79.7
80T
7
7
2
35
61.4
0
8
Vincent Jackson
TB
31
710
22.9
88.8
95
6
13
4
29
93.5
0
9
Roddy White
ATL
47
709
15.1
88.6
59
4
10
2
41
87.2
0
10
Percy Harvin
MIN
62
677
10.9
75.2
45
3
8
1
36
58.1
0
11
Brian Hartline
MIA
41
662
16.1
82.8
80T
1
8
3
27
65.9
0
12
Miles Austin
DAL
41
637
15.5
79.6
49
4
11
1
30
73.2
1
13
Steve Smith
CAR
38
630
16.6
78.8
66
1
9
2
23
60.5
0
14
Julio Jones
ATL
40
628
15.7
78.5
63T
5
11
2
28
70.0
0
15
Marques Colston
NO
44
626
14.2
78.2
40
6
8
1
35
79.5
1

Barring injury, Marshall will have his work cut out for him in terms of deciding who the best wide receiver is not only in the NFC, but also the NFL as a whole. Marshall is about to face some of the best pass defenses and secondaries in the league entering the second-half of the Bears season.

Matchups against Houston and San Francisco will be a difficult start, and facing the Seahawks and Cardinals won't make for an easy time either. But Marshall's already faced the Dallas Cowboys, whose passing defense rounds out the NFL's top five. The only top five passing defense Marshall has yet to face belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are ranked at No. 1.

As the saying goes, "In order to be the best, you've got to beat the best." Marshall will have an opportunity to erase all doubt of where he stands in the league after facing some of the stiffest competition of the 2012 season.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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