Bears must determine how to approach Sunday's game
The Chicago Bears have been aiming for a first-round bye in the playoffs and figured they would have to take care of business themselves with a victory on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
It won’t be an issue now after the Minnesota Vikings, a two-touchdown underdog, upset the Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday night at Lincoln Financial Field. The loss by the Eagles ensured the Bears a first-round bye and likely the No. 2 seed in the NFC, although they are still alive for the top spot.
The question now for Bears coach Lovie Smith is how he plans to use his players on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, who need a victory to get into the playoffs. With a 53-man roster, it’s impossible to rest all players. The Bears have been down this road with Smith before too. They were a second seed in 2005 and lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. The next year, as a No. 1 seed, they reached the Super Bowl.
“Right now, we plan on playing our guys the entire game,” Smith said Mondau. “Like I started it off early on.”
A team wants to remain sharp and giving players two weeks off without really playing probably isn’t the best approach. The Bears have been remarkably healthy this season and that doesn’t look like it’s a factor right now.
“I think we kept the pedal down (with playoff byes in the past),” Smith said. “In ’05 we lost. In ’06 we went through the same schedule and we won. Either way you can get the job done. I think the ’06 team was better, and that's why we won. I think it still comes down to that.
“I don't think if guys get 20 less plays or something in a game they stop playing good football. I just don't see it that way. We're in a position where if we didn't play our guys in an entire game, I don't think that has a whole lot to do with what would happen on that next week.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune