We're Black and Blue All Over:
There has been so much talk this week about, well, talk, that we've reached Friday of Packers-Bears week and have a pile of injury information to sort through.
Thanks to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, we know that Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett (concussion) won't play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. That will leave the Bears with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Devin Hester as their three main receivers.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, reports that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is dealing with a sprained MCL in his knee but is a certainty to play Sunday. The main question about the injury is whether it will impact Cutler's mobility against a pass rush that sacked him seven times in the teams' first meeting in Week 2.
Other Bears players who will need to make quick late-week recoveries in order to play are cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder), running back Michael Bush (ribs) and defensive end Shea McClellin (knee). Linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) won't play, either. The status of defensive tackle Henry Melton (chest), who hasn't practiced this week, is unclear.
The Packers aren't expected to have receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring), running back James Starks (knee), defensive end C.J. Wilson (knee) or defensive back Charles Woodson (collarbone) for this game. Offensive lineman T.J. Lang appears on track to play, probably at left guard, and linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) apparently has had no setbacks in his return to practice this week.
Whew. Let's continue with our morning tour of the division:
Urlacher fired back at Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who suggested the Bears might be better off without him this season. As Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times notes, Urlacher said on SiriusXM NFL radio: "Just like a couple of years ago, I think, he tore his ACL and the Packers were actually better without him. You know, they won the Super Bowl."
The Bears' special teams are scrambling because of injuries, notes Dickerson for ESPNChicago.com.
Packers receiver Greg Jennings mimicked Brandon Marshall's group interview this week and jokingly challenged the Bears to cover him one-on-one instead of in Cover 2. Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette explains that statement and what the final three games of the regular season could mean for Jennings' future.
Jennings, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "I mean, your pride wants to say, 'I can guard you man-to-man,' but why do it? Why do it when you don’t have to? Hey, that's why we're a team. We help one another."
Packers receiver Randall Cobb is on the verge of breaking the Packers' record for most net yards in a season. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more.
Winning the MVP award would "mean a lot," said Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson, via Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
The Vikings expect that cornerback A.J. Jefferson (concussion) will be ready for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams, according to Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune takes us through the ways the Vikings failed to find a deep-passing threat this season.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is closing in on his second consecutive 5,000-yard season, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan on Stafford, via Justin Rogers of Mlive.com: "I don't know where Peyton [Manning] was after four years, but I think Matt's definitely on track to be one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this position."
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson understands the difficult season of Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, writes Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.