The Chicago Bears need to win their next two games to assure themselves of a playoff spot. But the Bears also need to ensure that they have as healthy a roster as possible if they do qualify for the playoffs.
Defensive back Tim Jennings, the NFL leader in interceptions with eight, has missed two games with a separated shoulder, but he's expected to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Defensive tackle Henry Melton sat out last week's game with an injured collarbone.
Both players are still not fully recovered from their injuries. Jennings and Melton both said, via the Chicago Sun-Times, the team has been cautious with their injuries and doesn't want to rush them back into the lineup, although both are also vital components of one of the league's best defenses.
Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago thinks the Bears will play it safe with both if the Bears are able to build a big lead against the Cardinals early Sunday.
"However, if the Bears take control of the game early, they need to consider sitting Jennings and Melton as soon as possible for what should be a physical regular-season finale on Dec. 30 in Detroit," Wright writes. "Jennings and Melton are two of the club's best defensive players, and the Bears will need them in order to win at Detroit, and in the playoffs."