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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Bears hope to gain ground vs. AFC West

By Michael C. Wright



LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Choosing to don the proverbial blinders and focus solely on the San Diego Chargers, the Chicago Bears won’t allow overconfidence to seep in despite a recent run of success against the AFC West.

In the past, they’ve never faced four AFC West teams in a row like they do starting Sunday at Soldier Field. But going back to 2003, the Bears basically own that division.

“We’re zeroed in on one goal, one step, and that’s San Diego,” defensive end Israel Idonije said. “[We’re] not looking at the big picture.”

If the team did, it would notice the last two times it drew the entire AFC West, the Bears finished a combined 6-2 (2007 and 2003), including 3-1 records in each year against that division.

Linebacker Lance Briggs refused to label the start of the four-game stretch against the AFC West as a potential trap game. The Bears lost 14-3 the last time the teams met at San Diego. But the Bears are 3-0 against the Chargers at Soldier Field.

“Last time we played them we lost to them,” Briggs said.”[Chargers quarterback Phillip] Rivers has found a lot of success against us in the past, or found enough success to win in the past. So for us, this is a game that not only we have to win, but we have to play just like it’s a playoff game.”

The Bears don’t expect cakewalks over the next four games, but they hope the matchups serve as opportunities to gain ground on the 9-0 NFC North leading Green Bay Packers.

The Packers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field on Sunday before hitting the road to face the Detroit Lions and New York Giants.

“Those games are important for us because we’re behind in our division,” Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. “So we need to win all of them to try and get back in it if we can get some help from other people.”