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ТЕМА: The Chicago Bears are about to find out just where they stand.

The Chicago Bears are about to find out just where they stand. 1 год 8 мес. назад #148

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The NFC North leaders are staring at three straight division games after playing four in a row against the AFC East. And they don't need to be reminded how important this upcoming stretch is."We know that going into these division games , it's going to take a whole other level. They know us, we know them. We play them twice," linebacker Leonard Floyd said. "We know now that our level of play is going to have to rise even more."A 41-9 romp at Buffalo on Sunday after beating the New York Jets at home the previous week gave them back-to-back wins over the teams with the two worst records in the AFC East.But now, they're staring at the meat of their schedule.Chicago (5-3) hosts Detroit and Minnesota the next two weeks, with the game against the second-place Vikings (5-3-1) on Nov. 18 getting moved to prime time. After that comes a short turnaround before a Thanksgiving matchup on the road against the Lions."It's unique, just like it was playing the four AFC East teams we just played from the same division, but it is what it is," coach Matt Nagy said on Monday. "We put ourselves in a good position, but no one's gonna be looking past Detroit."The Bears matched their win total from last season as well as their best eight-game start since 2013. They're pushing for their first playoff appearance since the 2010 team lost to Green Bay in the NFC championship game.But when it comes to division play, the results in recent years are not good.Chicago has four straight last-place finishes and a 4-21 record against the NFC North since the start of the 2014 season. The Bears also have a 10-game losing streak against the division, their most recent victory coming against Minnesota on Oct. 31 , 2016.Their only game this year against an NFC North team was the season opener at Green Bay. And that loss was a gut wrencher as the Bears blew a 20-point lead against an injured Aaron Rodgers and lost 24-23."I understand, but that's the thing with us and where we're going 鈥?we try not to get to the past," Nagy said. "We really don't. We're in such a good place right now as an organization. The vibe that we have. We're learning how to win in different ways. We've learned what losing's about and how you respond from that. But we're trying to really create our own culture and create our own history."In his first season as a head coach, Nagy has the Bears positioning themselves for the postseason. But he insisted he does not use that possibility to motivate the team."We worry about playoffs, then we're worrying about the wrong thing," Nagy said. "We have a lot of season left."Getting star pass rusher Khalil Mack (ankle) and No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson (groin) back could help. Both players have missed the past two games, with Nagy saying they remain day to day. If they do play, the question is how healthy and effective they will be.Their status could become clearer once the team returns to practice. Both players sat out on Wednesday and Thursday the past two weeks before participating on a limited basis Friday and ultimately being held out of the games.The Bears were able to beat two struggling teams without them. But the schedule is taking a tougher turn."You know all we have to do is win," tight end Trey Burton said. "Don't listen to what the guys are saying on the outside and focus on what we're doing on the inside." The Chicago Bears are in wait-and-see mode with Kyle Long.Coach Matt Nagy said Monday that Long remains in the evaluation process and he hopes to know more in the next day or two after the offensive lineman left Chicago's 24-10 victory over the New York Jets with a right foot injury.The 29-year-old Long was selected by the Bears in the first round of the 2013 draft and made the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons. But he was hampered by injuries in each of the previous two years, resulting in right ankle surgery following the 2016 season and operations on his shoulder, elbow and neck after he was shut down late last year."For him to go through what he's gone through the last couple years with injuries Authentic Eddie Jackson Jersey , you feel for the guy," said Nagy, who is in his first season with the Bears."Like I said, he's been doing really well. Since our first day together in OTAs he's been a constant leader. He's very engaged in meetings. He's just really done things the right way."So right now, we're hoping that it's good news. But we won't know here for a little bit."Long got hurt when tight end Dion Sims rolled into him while the two were blocking for Jordan Howard on a run in the fourth quarter. Nagy said it's a foot injury and not an aggravation of his previous trouble with his right ankle."It's one of those ones that could be a little time, but I don't know if it's necessarily season-ending," he said.Long's injury put a damper on an important victory for Chicago (4-3), which had dropped two in a row.Minnesota, Green Bay and Detroit all lost Sunday, putting the Bears back on top of the congested NFC North.While awaiting word on Long, Nagy said they were working on contingency plans for this weekend's trip to Buffalo. Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann are two possibilities to step in at right guard.Kush missed the win over New York with a neck injury , but is expected to play against the Bills. Witzmann signed with Chicago three weeks ago and made 13 starts for Kansas City last season while Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs.Star linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Allen Robinson also could return this weekend. Mack, who has five sacks and four forced fumbles in his first season with the Bears, sat out against the Jets with a right ankle injury, missing a game for the first time since Oakland drafted him with the fifth overall pick in 2014."I'm hoping this week it grows and it gets better, but I'm gonna stay cautious with it always and we together are always gonna talk through it," Nagy said.Robinson has been hampered by a groin injury. He has 25 receptions for 285 yards and two touchdowns in six games after signing a $42 million, three-year contract with Chicago in free agency.Jay Cohen can be reached at s://jcohenap
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