Brian Urlacher: 'I feel like we're the best team, period'

The Chicago Bears are the best team in the NFL, in the estimation of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, so he’s looking forward to the challenge of hosting the AFC-leading New England Patriots on Sunday at Soldier Field.

It’s a huge game for both teams as they vie for a spot in the playoffs, and it’s the second time in three weeks the Bears will face a first-place team at home. They hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 28, defeating Michael Vick 31-26, and now they face a similarly hot quarterback in Tom Brady.

“Remember, we have them at home … the same like Philly,'' Urlacher told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. "When we played Philly, everybody was saying they were the best, right? It's the same situation, and hopefully the same result.

"New England is the best team in the NFL, record-wise. But I feel like we're the best team, period. That's why I say record-wise. They have the best quarterback, numbers-wise. And everybody likes to go by numbers, right?''

It will be the first time Tom Brady has played at Soldier Field in his career. He was the fourth quarterback behind Drew Bledsoe, Michael Bishop and John Friesz when the Patriots last played there in 2000. The 2002 meeting between teams was held at the University of Illinois while the Bears renovated Soldier Field.

"Right now, (Brady) is playing better than anybody,'' Urlacher said. "There's no doubt about that. Comparing with Peyton Manning, they're just different. Well, maybe they're not different because both run their offenses. Whatever they want to do, they do it. But Brady's doing it better right now.

"He doesn't make any mistakes with the football. You're not going to trick him. You just better stick to your roles.''

It’s a big opportunity for the Bears, who are one game ahead of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. They trail the Atlanta Falcons by a game for the best record in the conference. The Bears have had doubters for most of the season, and they’re coming off a lethargic victory at Detroit. It’s a chance to prove they are among the elite within a month of the start of the postseason.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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