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Pre-Gamer: Bears Head to Detroit for Pivotal Game

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It's hard to remember a Bears game in recent history with so much at stake. The Bears have to win (and need the Packers to win, as well) for a playoff spot. But more than that, they need to play well to keep Lovie Smith's career hopes alive

    What more do you need to know before week 17's kickoff? 

    Unhealthy running backs: The only Bears running back not to appear on the injury report this week was on-again, off-again Bear Kahlil Bell. Matt Forte is nursing an ankle injury, Armando Allen's knee has kept him off the field, and Michael Bush was put on the injured reserve because of a rib injury. These injuries put the running game in question.

    Containing Calvin Johnson: He's the league's best receiver. He's possibly the best of his generation, but the Bears still need to know where Megatron is at all times. It will be Charles Tillman's job to contain Johnson and keep him from hitting 2,000 yards.

    Which quarterback will shine? Jay Cutler doesn't shine when the pressure is on. Major Wright said Matthew Stafford folds under pressure. Will one of the quarterbacks rise to the occasion? 

    Dirty, Dirty, Dirty: There's no way this game won't have some dirtiness. The Bears and Lions have already engaged in a war of words. But the team who will end up with the win is the one who can play calmly amid the dirty play.

    Milestone watch: Sunday will mark the last game of the regular season, and there are quite a few players on the field who could hit a milestone. Charles Tillman leads the league in forced fumbles and Tim Jennings leads it in interceptions, so they could end the season with the lead. Julius Peppers has 11.5 sacks, which is already his best total with the Bears. If he has 3.5 or more, he'll beat his own personal best.

    For Detroit, Johnson already has the record for the most passing yards in a single season. He'll break 2,000 with a 208-yard game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford will get to 5,000 passing yards if he gets 305 yards or more on Sunday.