Bears

Bears extend NFC North lead with Week 11 win over Vikings

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USA TODAY

Bears extend NFC North lead with Week 11 win over Vikings

The Bears have gotten to 7-3 a few times in the last decade, but something about 2018 feels different.

They reached 7-3 after two-straight losses in 2012, marking the beginning of the end of Lovie Smith’s final season in Chicago. They were 7-3 the year before too, but Jay Cutler went on injured reserve after that 10th game.

In 2018, 7-3 is good for first place in the NFC North for a Bears team rising into contention, and Sunday night’s win over the Minnesota Vikings only extended that division lead.

Neither the Green Bay Packers nor Detroit Lions are out of contention yet, though.

Aaron Rodgers and company have a chance to get back on track with a Sunday night matchup against the Vikings, perhaps their last chance to gain ground in a division slipping away.

Their Thursday night loss to the Seattle Seahawks kept them in third place in the NFC North.

The Lions kept hope alive with a nail-biting victory over the Carolina Panthers. They were a Cam Newton two-point conversion away from giving up on the season.

The weekend as a whole was fruitful for the Bears, establishing themselves as a legitimate contender and a clear front-runner for the division.

Under Center Podcast: Checking in on the Lions with ESPN’s Mike Rothstein

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Checking in on the Lions with ESPN’s Mike Rothstein

JJ Stankevitz is joined by ESPN Lions reporter Mike Rothstein to dive into how close Detroit is to cleaning house (1:00), expectations for Matthew Stafford (5:50) and T.J. Hockenson (10:00), what new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s scheme looks like (13:45), where the Lions are strongest and weakest on defense (16:50) and if this team actually respects Matt Patricia (22:20).

Plus, Mike discusses the story he co-wrote on the rise and fall of the AAF and what it would take for a spring football league to succeed (26:10).

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Under Center Podcast

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Bears rookie WR Riley Ridley motivated by older brother, family name

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USA Today

Bears rookie WR Riley Ridley motivated by older brother, family name

Bears fourth-round pick Riley Ridley knew what to expect coming into the NFL thanks to his older brother Calvin, the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver.

Their family bond kept them close even as they played for rival colleges and now competing professional teams, and they both take a lot of motivation from the name on the back of their jerseys.

The two receivers came together on camera for the Bears’ “Meet the Rookies” series.

“We do what we do, not just for the family, but for our name, our brand,” Riley Ridley said. “We want to take that as far as it can go. That Ridley name is strong, and that’s how we view it.”

Ridley opened up about growing up with his mother raising him and his three brothers. He said he’s going to be his own biggest critic and do everything he can to help his teammates.

His brother Calvin added some color to the image of Riley that’s starting to take shape.

“Very funny, really cool, laid back,” Calvin Ridley said. “He’s a different person on the field. I would say he has a lot of anger on the field — very physical.”

Matt Nagy should find good use for that physicality in the Bears offense, plugging Ridley in a wide receiver group already deep with young talent.

Ridley doesn’t seem like the type of player who will allow himself to get buried on the depth chart.