The Chicago Bears (7-5), losers of two straight games, will need to find significant production from the backups in their Week 14 matchup against the Denver Broncos (7-5). holding a precarious grasp to their playoff hopes, the Bears find themselves suddenly with the two major keystones of the their offense on the sidelines.
Most teams who have only three players on the injury report come Sunday are considered healthy, but the Bears' three injuries may very well transform them from playoff team to a middle-of-the-draft team.
Out and likely to stay out until the end of the regular season, quarterback Jay Cutler's broken thumb abruptly ended his possible Pro Bowl season, pushing backup QB Caleb Hanie into his first regular playing time since college. Hanie, who has thrown a combined six interceptions in his first two games, has yet to find his rhythm with the Bears offense.
And it may be even harder to find that rhythm in Week 14, now that the drummer -- RB Matt Forte -- has gone down with an MCL injury. With his ailing knee likely to keep him out for at least another week, Matt Forte hands the starting halfback duties to 6-year pro and 1-time Pro Bowler Marion Barber. The former Dallas Cowboys running back will get his first start of the season in Week 14, entering the game with a 3.7 yards per carry average.
The Bears will also be without their starting strong safety in Major Wright, though the safety position has been one of the team's deepest positions in 2011, suggesting the Bears should be able to succeed without him.
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