Bears determined to avoid repeat of 08

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Bears determined to avoid repeat of 08

The Bears have been here before. They know they can blow it.

With a win in the final game of the 2008 season, the Bears could go to the playoffs. It was that simple; beat the 7-8 Texans in Houston and it didnt matter what anybody else did.

Houston had even lost the week before to the woeful (3-11) Oakland Raiders.

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The Bears went out to a 10-0 lead and then lost focus, the game, the playoffs and, years later, perhaps Lovie Smiths job if they do not at least win Sunday in Detroit.

We were in this position a few years back, Smith recalled. We looked at all the different scenarios and we forgot about the one that really mattered us winning the game.

The playoffs that year vanished when the Philadelphia Eagles crushed the Dallas Cowboys in the later game. That wont be an issue this time.

The broadcast of the Green Bay-Minnesota game is expected to be piped in over the radio on the Bears charter flight home. But if the Bears dont win first, there wont be any need for Wayne Larrivees account.

MORE: Bears in good shape with Rodgers in Minnesota

That Houston loss still stings.

Shoot, too much looking over and looking to see what other teams were doing other than keeping the Texans out of the end zone, said linebacker Lance Briggs. That was another spoiler. They left that season with somewhat of a nice taste in their mouth and left us with a sour taste. Its all within our control.

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A Detroit loss would leave Schwartz 20 games under .500 (22-42) for his four seasons, only one (2011) with a winning record and playoff trip. And the Lions likely would not have reached the postseason had Jay Cutler not gone down with a broken thumb at a point where the Bears had moved past the Lions.

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A Bears win would leave Smith 18 games above .500 for his nine-year Chicago career (81-63), 10-6 for the 2012 season, and very likely returning in 2013 to at least coach out the final year of the contract extension he signed in 2011.

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Both teams are on track to be drafting in the top five, and the inevitable “the loser is the winner” talk has made its rounds, meaning that a defeat moves the loser higher in the draft order. The reality is that neither team will tank the game for draft position.

But the chances of two woeful teams playing well are slim. The 49ers won in Week 1 and then have lost 10 straight. The Bears are trying to avoid losing four straight for the first time under John Fox.

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick burst upon the NFL scene in 2012 with a blowout of the Bears in his first start. He has regained his starting job in San Francisco and is still one of the prototypical mobile quarterbacks.

But the 49ers are the NFL’s worst defense in both points and yardage allowed, and they are the worst rushing defense in the league. Expect the Bears to try exploiting that and give quarterback Matt Barkley a balanced run-pass game plan.

Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Bears hoping to get Kyle Fuller back in DB mix sooner rather than later

Kyle Fuller was one of the seeming fixtures in the Bears’ defense as it transitioned from the 4-3 of old to the 3-4 of Vic Fangio. And he may be again, the Bears hope very soon, as he has begun practicing after months on injured reserve following knee surgery in August.

The Bears could place Fuller on the active roster as late as Saturday after he practiced all three days this week. “He made it three days in practice, no setbacks,” said coach John Fox. “He seems to be adapting pretty well. He has another practice [Saturday] and we don’t have to make a decision until 3 p.m. because of where he is on the roster. We’ll evaluate that after tomorrow.”

Were Fuller to return — restoring one projected 2016 starter to a defense that has been forced to field five different starting secondaries in the span of 11 games — he may be phased back in with a managed number of snaps, as other certain other players returning from injury have been.

But getting Fuller back projects to be an instant upgrade for a defensive backfield among the NFL’s worst at producing takeaways.

“We all play different positions so we’re kind of used to it, people moving in and out over the year,” said Bryce Callahan, who was initially ticketed for nickel duty as the No. 3 cornerback this season but has been pressed into service starting at cornerback in four games.

“It’s always good to get someone like Kyle back.”

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The Bears would need to weigh what workload Fuller could handle vs. roster needs based on only having 46 players active on game day.

“You’re always a little bit cautious because it does affect your roster,” Fox said. “But if you feel like he makes you better, that’s a move you make. Now we’re just working through him medically, durability-wise, and how much he can play.”

Jay Cutler (shoulder) was officially declared out and is headed for surgery on Saturday, ultimately to injured reserve.

Other availability questions include receiver Eddie Royal (toe), guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and safety Adrian Amos (ankle), all questionable. Linebacker Willie Young (knee) did not practice but linebacker Leonard Floyd was able to practice on a limited basis although his status in the concussion protocol will not be known until closer to game time.