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Bears need help from Packers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- He nearly winced to say it Sunday, but no matter how farfetched, this time Lovie Smith truly meant it when he said "it's not hard at all for me" to root for the Green Bay Packers next week when they face the Minnesota Vikings in the regular-season finale.

To advance to the postseason for the first time since 2010, Chicago needs to defeat the Detroit Lions next week and the Packers to beat Minnesota so the Bears can sneak past the Vikings for the NFC's sixth seed in the playoffs.

"I've always been a big Packers fan," Smith said, smiling. "Of course we will (root for the Packers). Minnesota is playing good football of course. The Packers have (played good football). We have a tough division. As we said this week, we can't do much about that. All we can do is win against Detroit."


But first, the Bears needed to top the Arizona Cardinals, which they did in resounding fashion Sunday thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns from Zack Bowman and Charles Tillman that keyed a 28-13 romp at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Bears built a 21-6 lead on a Bowman fumble recovery in the end zone, a Matt Forte 4-yard run and an 11-yard TD reception from Brandon Marshall.

In meetings at the team hotel prior to Sunday's game, the coaching staff "talked about the different scenarios early on," Smith admitted, and said, 'Hey, we can't worry about all that. All we can do is just take care of our business, getting this win at Arizona.' "

With that now done, at this point Chicago can advance to the postseason in just two possible ways. With the New York Giants falling to the Baltimore Ravens, and the Bears winning, they need to defeat the Lions on Sunday and for the Vikings to lose to the Packers.

When asked whether he felt confident the Packers would defeat the Vikings next week, Marshall said, "I'm not sure."

"All we can do is control what we can control," Marshall said. "We do need help. If we could get that help that would be good."

If the Bears advance, they would face the No. 3 seed in the first round, which likely would be either San Francisco or the Packers, currently sitting at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, with one game remaining.

Quarterback Jay Cutler laughed about the prospect of cheering for the Packers, and said "Yeah, probably" when asked if it would be difficult.

"But you have to," Cutler said. "Hopefully we take care of business in Detroit, and Green Bay can keep playing well. I saw they put up 55 (points) today (against the Tennessee Titans). So hopefully (Packers quarterback) Aaron (Rodgers) can put on another show next week."