We're Black and Blue All Over:
Two long-injured Chicago Bears are back to practice and candidates to play Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. One appears a lock, while the other might need another week or two of practice.
According to ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson, receiver Earl Bennett (chest/torso) has been cleared to play and is expected to participate. However, right tackle Gabe Carimi (knee) at best will be available in a reserve role. Lance Louis is expected to start at right tackle against the Eagles.
Louis would be making his third consecutive start at right tackle, with Chris Spencer serving as the right guard. As we discussed in Tuesday's SportsNation chat, the Bears will have an interesting decision when Carimi is ready to play. But it doesn't look like they'll have to address that situation in Week 9.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Victories in the next two weeks will put the Bears on a playoff path, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Bears tailback Matt Forte, via Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com: "I know I'm loyal to my teammates and my team are my guys, but it doesn't seem like the organization is to me. But that doesn't keep me from going out on the field and putting my best out there."
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he isn't thinking about the possibility of a new contract, according to Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "If they aren’t careful, the Packers might get hurt from all those pats on the back."
Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel chronicles a Packers offense that is leading the league in scoring.
Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril believes his team needs to be more consistent, notes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Lions players are appearing to embrace their bad-boy image, writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News.
The Minnesota Vikings aren't expected to address the future of cornerback Chris Cook until next week, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings backup Joe Webb believes his best position is quarterback, he told Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune speaks to author/entrepreneur Harvey Mackay about the role of the Vikings franchise in promoting the state of Minnesota.