Bears

Game-playing getting Cutler and Marshall closer

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Game-playing getting Cutler and Marshall closer

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. Game-playing is never usually a good thing in a relationship. In the case of the Bears, it is a very good thing.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler have walked into the lunch hall at Olivet Nazarene University together the past two days. (On Thursday Cutler left the mess hall walking behind three offensive linemen, which may have been a subconscious (or maybe very conscious) positioning of security.)

Cutlers and Marshalls rooms in the dorm are next to each other, meaning that when they are not at practice or in meetings, there is time for games that include Scrabble (Marshalls advantage) and another which is Advantage Cutler.

Weve been playing a game called Q I call it Q because I cant pronounce whatever its name is -- and hes 2-0 against me, Marshall said. Hopefully Ill get a win at Scrabble because Im not good at Q right now.

The expectations are that Cutler and Marshall will be the linchpins of an offense beyond what the Bears have fielded in recent memory. It will have to go some to top what is currently the most explosive offense in which Marshall has ever played.

As far as ranking the 2012 Bears offense for explosiveness, Not even close, Marshall said. 1994, my little league team, the Kingsley Knights no, Im being honest I mean, we were scoring at will. It was amazing. Hopefully, if we match some of that production back in 94, then Ill be able to say it, but Ive got to see it work.

NFC North standings: Bears’ division lead on life support after loss to Dolphins

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USA TODAY

NFC North standings: Bears’ division lead on life support after loss to Dolphins

A tie is all that separates the Bears from the rest of the NFC North division. Chicago’s Week 6 loss to the Miami Dolphins dropped the team to 3-2, which just barely leaves them in first place.

Because the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings tied in Week 2, they sit just behind the Bears at 3-2-1 in the division. The Week 5 bye week also kept Chicago a little bit ahead, but they’re only a game away from dropping down to third.

They still control their own destiny, but Matt Nagy will need an upset win over the New England Patriots on Sunday to maintain their leading position. The Packers are on a bye week, so they would assume first place if the Bears lose.

The Vikings take on the New York Jets for a chance to take sole possession of the NFC North crown, but Chicago is guaranteed to stay ahead of the Detroit Lions, who also have a bye week.

These early season losses are tough on a Bears team trying to grow a division lead before they take on their NFC North foes midseason. The bigger cushion they can build now, the more wiggle room they’ll have when they face the Lions, Vikings and Lions back-to-back-to-back in November.

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

It might be a long shot for the White Sox to sign free agent Manny Machado, but here on the White Sox Talk Podcast, we like dark horses. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss what it would take to bring Machado to the South Side. Plus, is he "the" guy the White Sox are targeting this offseason? Will the Rockies listen to trade offers for Nolan Arenado a year before he reaches free agency? Plus, Chuck talks about a cost-controlled, All-Star on a rebuilding team that could be an answer at third base.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: