December 12, 2018 / 9:05 PM / 3 months ago

Bears determined to send Green Bay packing

Dec 9, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Bears defense pose for a photo after a turnover against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears: Even with the Packers on the losing end of five of their last seven games, the Bears can’t temper their excitement over the potential to clinch the NFC North at Soldier Field. Chicago must win, or the Vikings lose, for the Bears to clinch the division title for the first time since 2010. A win would bounce the Packers from the playoff picture. “It would mean a lot,” rookie wide receiver Anthony Miller said. “It’s something that this city hasn’t seen for a while and we’re just bringing that back, bringing that winning mentality back, and the train is not going to stop rolling.”

Detroit Lions: Running back Zach Zenner — out of football one month ago — looked even more productive to offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter upon review of the Sunday game film from Detroit’s win over the Arizona Cardinals. Zenner had 12 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown and will get another long look this Sunday. “He’s a really unique individual — mentally, psychologically, the guys as smart as they come. As prepared as they come, and works as hard as anybody I’ve ever been around. Takes notes, takes care of his body,” Cooter said. “Glad to see him take advantage of his opportunity. Zach did a nice job of, ‘hey, go in there and get a few carries and see what you can do with them.’”

Green Bay Packers: Interim coach Joe Philbin looked at the NFL statistical rankings put out by the league each week and saw a few too many low, single-digit numbers for his liking associated with the Bears. “There’s a boatload of single digits,” Philbin said. “It’s an excellent defense. It’s well-coached. talented. They’ve been in that system for awhile. We saw 52 (Khalil Mack) in (Week 1). They’re moving him around more, well-designed and executing at a high level. ... They lead the NFL in takeaways with 34. That’s a substantial number. It’ll be a great challenge. Tough team to prepare for.”

Minnesota Vikings: Some of the nameplates at team headquarters changed since the last full team practice, but Kirk Cousins said the Vikings need to pay attention to fine details and execution no matter who is listed where in the coaching pecking order. Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski was elevated to offensive coordinator after the firing of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo following Monday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. “This far into the season, I have a lot of time spent with Coach Stefanski in the quarterback room for many months now. He knows me well. At the same time, you don’t reinvent much this late in the year. ... It’s the hard part of this business. It was tough news. I hate seeing it happen. It’s as simple as that. What needs to change as far as execution? We’ve got to score points.”

—Field Level Media

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