Jennings, Tillman could combine to make franchise history

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Jennings, Tillman could combine to make franchise history

Not to be outdone, cornerback Charles Tillman was named NFC defensive player of the month for October, following running mate Tim Jennings receiving that honor for September.

The back-to-back distinctions could have Jennings and Tillman on course to both be in the Pro Bowl, which would mark the first time in history that two cornerbacks from the same Bears team were selected for the all-star game.

In Bears history seven players have won player-of-the-month awards. All but one defensive end Trace Armstrong in 1990 were voted to the Pro Bowl. Armstrong had the misfortune of winning his months award in a year when Reggie White, Chris Doleman and Richard Dent had Pro Bowl seasons. All three are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bears Pro Bowl CBs rare, period

The Bears have sent numerous safeties to Pro Bowls but rarely even one cornerback. Tillman did it last season for the first time, vastly improving his chances for a return on top of his month and season so far.

Nathan Vasher went after the 2005 season, one in which he led the NFC in interceptions with eight. Jennings leads the league with six through seven games.

(While not cornerbacks, safety Roosevelt Taylor led the NFL with nine interceptions in 1963 and went to the Pro Bowl, as did safety Mark Carrier in 1990 to earn a trip across the water.)

Donnell Woollford went after his 1993 season. And thats about it.

Vs. the best

Tillman sealed his award with the job done on Detroits Calvin Johnson in a Monday night game, national TV against one of the elite receivers in the NFL.

Jennings added luster to his September award by doing major work on Carolinas Steve Smith, including a turning-moment interception for a touchdown in the Bears win.

I grade myself pretty well just because Steve Smith is an All-Pro receiver and I felt like I made a couple plays on him, Jennings said. For him to be the type of receiver he is, I just want to put myself in position to make some plays and I think I was.

That sort of thing impresses Pro Bowl voters, too.

Competition

From last years Pro Bowl cornerbacks, Green Bays Charles Woodson broke a collarbone and is out, besides having played safety this season also.

Carlos Rodgers will benefit from playing on a very good San Francisco 49ers defense, and Patrick Peterson has three interceptions as well as a growing rep, which gets votes.

Brandon Browner from Seattle was an alternate and the Seahawks are a top-five yardage and scoring defense.

Others will get votes. Indeed, if voters are not inclined to pick two DBs from the same secondary, Jennings and Tillman could cancel out votes from each other.

Pro Bowl voting is open now on NFL.com.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

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Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

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Joe Maddon breaks down the Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella decision for Cubs

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Illinois OLB Dawuane Smoot

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls 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 Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls get one on the Bucks? The Bulls are 0-3 against the Bucks so far this season and it hasn't been pretty. The Bucks have won the previous three meetings all by double digits and by an average of 19 points. The youth and athleticism of the Bucks has been a tough matchup for the Bulls so far.

2. Containing Giannis. There may be no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bulls can at least try to contain him. Antetokounmpo is averaging 23 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. In three games against the Bulls this year he has averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest. If the Bulls are to stay in the game, they will need to keep him to numbers lower than that.

3. Playoff implications. The Bulls playoff hopes are still alive with nine games remaining, but things are looking a bit bleak. The Bulls are a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot, but only 3.5 games behind two teams tied for the No. 5 seed, the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have won three in a row to improve their position.

4. Mirotic on a roll. Streaky play is nothing new to Nikola Mirotic, but he's on a good run currently. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Pistons, Mirotic followed that up with 15 points against the 76ers. Since missing three straight games earlier this month, Mirotic has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and is averaging 15.6 points during that stretch.

5. Beginning of a tough stretch. The Bulls' playoff hopes could be made or broken in the next three games. After taking on the Bucks, which occupy a playoff spot, the Bulls host two more Eastern Conference playoff teams in Cleveland and Atlanta. The Bulls need to string some wins together and this is not an easy stretch to do so against.

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you're ready for action

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- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Bulls fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Bulls Pulse