|CB||Charles Tillman||RIBS, ELBOW||PROBABLE|
|CB||Chris Houston||HAMSTRING, HIP||QUESTIONABLE|
|WR||Calvin Johnson||KNEE, ANKLE||PROBABLE|
|DE||Kyle Vanden Bosch||NOT INJURY RELATED||PROBABLE|
Prior to the start of the season, when people saw this game on the schedule for the final week, they likely thought it would have major playoff implications. Sure, its result can and will still play a role, but a much lesser role than originally thought.
Even if the Chicago Bears come away with a win and improve themselves to 10-6 on the year, they can still possibly miss the playoffs. A win by the disappointing 4-11 Detroit Lions and the both teams won't be in the playoff picture.
The Lions have lost their last seven games, and haven't looked great in the process — go figure. Sure, Calvin Johnson may just be having the best season a wide receiver could ever have as he's closing in on 2,000 yards, but he can't do it alone. Matthew Stafford hasn't been in rhythm all year after throwing for more than 5,000 yards last season. He is finding it very difficult to find the end zone this year, and is turning the ball over at a much more frequent rate than in the past.
He's only seven passes away from breaking the all-time NFL mark for pass attempts in a season, which only shows how much this team has struggled. Stafford has thrown the ball more than 50 times in a game far too frequently this year, and his numbers in terms of production don't match that statistic.
Only Buffalo, Tennessee and Oakland have allowed more points than the Lions this year (411) so this is a game that screams success for the Bears. They've made it clear this season that they can beat the weaker teams in the NFL, as eight of the team's nine wins have come against teams with losing records.
Even after leaving last week's win with an injury, running back Matt Forte said he'd play Week 17 looking to guide his team to the playoffs. A majority of the defense is likely to return as well as Henry Melton and Tim Jennings may suit up for this game.
Jay Cutler will look to Brandon Marshall early and often in this one, as the receiver will only improve upon his numbers as he continues to set the Chicago Bear record books. Detroit has struggled to stop anyone this year, and if they look at the tape of Roddy White and Julio Jones toasting Chris Houston last week, there is no reason Marshall shouldn't be able to do the same.
A win and a Minnesota Vikings loss, the Bears are in the playoffs. A loss and they're definitely out. If that happens, let the Lovie Smith talk begin. Hopefully, it won't come to that and the Bears at least give themselves a chance at the playoffs.Tags: Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Chicago, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Football, Henry Melton, Jay Cutler, Julio Jones, Lovie Smith, Matt Forte, Matthew Stafford, NFL, Roddy White, Tim Jennings