Bears

Bears vs. Cardinals: And the winner is

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Bears vs. Cardinals: And the winner is

Several weeks ago, it might have been laughable to suggest that the Bears and Arizona Cardinals are two teams in pretty much the same mess. It is not the least bit funny now.

Both have lost five of their last six. The Cardinals have lost nine of their last 10 but they have had a victory more recently (last Sunday over Detroit) than the Bears, who have not won since Nov. 25. They were both 4-1 at one point.

The Cardinals have a miserable situation at quarterback where sixth-round rookie Ryan Lindley has yet to throw a touchdown pass in four starts and against six interceptions. The Bears have a situation at quarterback as well, where Jay Cutler has thrown more interceptions (three) than touchdown passes (two) in the last two games with the NFC North and playoffs at stake. In the six-game swoon, Cutler has thrown five touchdown passes vs. six interceptions.

It has been anything but all Cutler. Receivers also have dropped more TD passes than theyve caught and the offenses only two rushing touchdowns over the last six games came in that Nov. 25 win over Minnesota.

The point here is that Bears are every bit capable of losing the Arizona game with their offense, perhaps the summary irony of 2012 for a team that traded for a franchise wide receiver, drafted one in the second round and kept every key offensive piece in place.

This is how the Arizona game (and Bears record) looked to CSNChicago.com at what seems now like a very long time ago:

At Arizona Cardinals (8-8) Sun., Dec. 23, 3:15 p.m.

Analysis: Arizona reached .500 in 2011 but has done little in the offseason to get better and is converting to a 3-4. On offense neither Kevin Kolb nor John Skelton is enough to beat this Bears defense.

Result: W (11-4)

The good news for the Bears that Lindley is not enough to beat this Bears defense, either.

Bears 14 Cardinals 10

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. The Bears haven’t revealed the full extent of Floyd’s injury, but coach John Fox did confirm this week the 2016 first-round pick didn’t tear his ACL. 

That’s potentially good news for Floyd’s recovery timetable, even if he won’t return in 2017. The Bears can probably hope to have Floyd back for, at the least, training camp next year, if not possibly OTAs in six months, thought that’s more speculative than concrete. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot. 

The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on

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USA TODAY

The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on

Whenever a famous couple in the world of soccer has a child, there are always jokes about what national teams the kid could play for.

The latest such addition to the gossip columns is the announcement from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ana Ivanovic that they are expecting a child.

Ivanovic, a former tennis pro who won the 2008 French Open champion, announced the news on Twitter with a sponsor-heavy photo.

Schweinsteiger, who played with the Fire this past season, also took to Twitter to share a photo and the news.

Schweinsteiger's future with the Fire remains unclear, but him and Ivanovic seemed to be happy living in Chicago, making various appearances at sporting events in the city. If he returns and the child is born in Chicago, does that mean we could one day see a Schweinsteiger repping the U.S. national team in 20-something years? Maybe the men's team won't be a national embarrassment by then, but then again, if it's a girl she'd be able to pick between the only multiple-time World Cup winning nations (U.S. and Germany).

Perhaps the child would take after Ivanovic and hit volleys with a racket instead of a foot, or maybe he or she will not take after the professional athlete parents.

In all seriousness, congratulations to both Schweinsteiger and Ivanovic.