Chicago Sun-Times

Bears have plenty at stake Sunday, even if they get a gift from the Vikings

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It seems pretty clear that the Bears aren't going to take a preseason approach Sunday in the season finale against the Green Bay Packers. Bears coach Lovie Smith, running back Matt Forte and safety Chris Harris all offered reasons why the game will matter, beyond the obvious fact that it's against the team's top rival.

So even if the Minnesota Vikings upset the Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday, wrapping up at least the No. 2 seed in the NFC for the Bears, Chicago's football team will still have plenty to play for.

Smith talked about the chance to wrap up a perfect season within the NFC North. Harris talked about the chance to knock the always dangerous Packers -- who can most easily secure a spot by winning Sunday -- out of the postseason. And Forte talked about wanting to get the 22 rushing yards he needs to get to 1,000.

"There's a lot of things for us to play for," Smith said. "We realize some things could happen and we could have the bye before then. We're not thinking that way.

"We feel like we have to beat the Packers, to accomplish our regular season goals, and that's what we're going to go to work to do."

Harris said he was impressed by the play of the Packers in recent weeks. The Packers put up a strong effort against two teams the Bears were humbled by: the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

The Packers didn't pull off the upset of the Patriots, largely because starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't play, but they did embarrass the Giants at Lambeau Field.

"You saw how they played against the Patriots without Aaron Rodgers and then what they did to the Giants was amazing," Harris said. "I think they're going to be a very dangerous team in the playoffs so why not get a little taste of them now just in case we have to go up against them a third time, we'll know what we got."

As for Forte, he's got more selfish reasons. Last season, he finished with 929 rushing yards. This season, he needs 22 to reach 1,000.

"I want to get that," Forte said. "But I think the guys would want to play, just because it's against the Packers, and going in and playing well against them."

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on December 27, 2010 12:39 PM.

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