Bears

Bears defense on display in Pro Bowl

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Bears defense on display in Pro Bowl

The Bears would rather be preparing for Super Bowl XLVII this week, but instead got the chance to watch their defense play in the annual Pro Bowl.
The Bears' defense, which finished the regular season ranked fifth in the league, was on display in Honolulu as the NFC used six passing touchdowns from three different quarterbacks to rout the AFC, 62-35, in the annual event.
Julius Peppers, who made his eighth appearance in the game, racked up two sacks and another solo tackle in the win.
Tim Jennings had five tackles (four solo), Charles Tillman added four solo tackles and a defended pass and Henry Melton registered a batted pass.
Brandon Marshall was selected to the team as a starter, but a hip injury forced him out of action. Marshall, who caught 118 passes for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns in the regular season, was the Bears' only offensive player on the roster. Last year Marshall caught three touchdown passes and was named the MVP.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was named this year's MVP after grabbing five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents. 

That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?

The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room). 

So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure. 

Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return. 

“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”

If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length. 

Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game? 

Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: