Week 16 Nuts & Bolts: Bears at Cardinals



When: 3:25 p.m. Sunday | TV: FOX, locally: Ch. 32, WFLD-TV

RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)


Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 82-66

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Ken Whisenhunt: 0-1 | Career record vs. Cardinals: 1-1

Last week: Lost to Green Bay Packers 21-13.

Key stat:Since advancing to the Super Bowl during the 2006 season, the Bears have posted a regular-season record of 12-15 during the months of Dec. and Jan., and counting the current season, are 1-7 during those months over the last two years. The Bears are also 5-9 over the last two seasons when the opponent scores first and they’re 1-6 over that same span when they trail at the half.

Offense rank: 29th (305.9 ypg) | Defense rank: Fifth (319.6 ypg).

Offensive leader: The NFL leader in receptions (107), Brandon Marshall called for more accountability on the offensive side of the ball after last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. He seemed to be one of the few on the team with the credibility to do it, given he’s put together seven 100-yard receiving games this season, and is tied for third in the NFL in touchdown catches (10).

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman forced his 10th fumble of the season against the Packers to establish a single-season career high in that category. With Tim Jennings slowed by injury and the offense struggling, Tillman needs to continue to take away the ball to give this team as many opportunities as possible to score points. Tillman ranks among the top to since 2003 in INTs (32), INT return yards (596), INT return TDs (7), forced fumbles (39) and pass breakups (123).


Jay Cutler hasn’t put together a 300-yard passing game in 15 consecutive outings, and he’s thrown three INTs in his last two starts.

Matt Forte hasn’t put together a 100-yard rushing performance in six consecutive games.

• Marshall has caught a touchdown pass in two consecutive games, in addition to finishing with 160 yards or more receiving in two of the last three contests.

• The defense has allowed opposing offenses to convert 41.2 percent or better on third down in three consecutive games.


Coach: Ken Whisenhunt | Record: 49-51

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 1-0 | Career record vs. Bears: 1-0

Last week: Defeated the Detroit Lions 38-10.

Key stat: The Cardinals rank first in the NFL in INTs (22), and are holding opposing quarterbacks to an NFL-low 68.0 passer rating. With 32 total takeaways, the Cardinals rank fourth in the NFL behind Chicago, New England and the New York Giants. Interestingly, the Cardinals have generated 16 of their takeaways (13 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries) over the past five games.

Offense rank: 32nd (264.2 ypg) | Defense rank: 11th (335.8 ypg).

Offensive leader: Receiver Larry Fitzgerald has caught more passes than 15 of the 21 receivers in the Hall of Fame, and has generated more receiving yards than 14 of the 21 receivers in the Hall. Despite Fitzgerald’s gaudy career numbers, he hasn’t hauled in a touchdown reception since Nov. 4.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Patrick Peterson picked off his seventh pass of the season last week against the Detroit Lions, and he now ranks No. 2 in the league in INTs behind the Bears’ Jennings. Peterson has picked off a pass in four consecutive games, and is the first Cardinal since Aeneas Williams in 1994 to accomplish that feat.


• The Cardinals have sold out 73 consecutive games at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Beanie Wells has run for five touchdowns in his last two home games.

• With nine sacks, Daryl Washington needs just one more to become the fourth inside linebacker in NFL history to post at least 10 sacks in a season.