TIME: Sunday, 1 p.m. EST.
The Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers still have something to play for despite being out of playoff contention.
Chicago looks to end a six-game road losing streak, while Carolina tries to improve to .500 at home when the Bears visit the Panthers for the first time.
The Bears went 13-3 and won the NFC Central Division in 2001, but this season has not turned out well for them. They started the year 2-0, but have since lost 10 of 12, including six straight on the road.
Chicago, however, is 2-2 in its last four games after a 20-13 win over the New York Jets last Sunday.
“Guys are a lot more excited about the offseason when you finish strong, you finish positive and guys can see the results of working hard and preparing hard,” Chandler said. “Going into an offseason and getting on a roll at the end of a season definitely helps.”
Carolina got on a roll earlier this season by winning its first three games after going 1-15 in 2001. But the Panthers went on to lose eight straight to put the playoffs out of reach.
Carolina ended its skid with consecutive victories, but returned to its losing ways with a 30-14 defeat at the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.
The Panthers have a plus-8 turnover margin in their five victories and minus-7 in their nine losses. In last week’s loss, they committed four miscues.
“Right now at this point of our development, we’re not going to overcome four giveaways,” Panthers coach John Fox said. “That’s something we’ve got to work on and continue to improve upon. We have a small margin of error.”
Carolina is looking to finish the season 4-4 at Ericsson Stadium after going 0-8 at the venue in 2001.
“That’s one of your goals as you go into a season,” Panthers quarterback Rodney Peete said. “You want to win at home. We haven’t done that as much as we’d like to, and with this being our last game at home, we’d like to close out the season with a victory and give our fans a win at this stage of the season and something to look forward to next year.”
STANDINGS: Bears - 2nd place (tied), NFC North. Panthers - 4th place, NFC South.
BEARS LEADERS: Offense - Miller, 1,944 passing yards and 13 passing TDs; Anthony Thomas, 721 rushing yards and 6 rushing TDs; Marty Booker, 88 receptions, 1,144 receiving yards and 6 receiving TDs. Defense - Brian Urlacher, 96 tackles; Rosevelt Colvin, 10 1/2 sacks; Mike Brown, 3 INTs.
PANTHERS LEADERS: Offense - Peete, 2,248 passing yards and 13 passing TDs; Lamar Smith, 737 rushing yards and 7 rushing TDs; Muhsin Muhammad, 51 receptions; Steve Smith, 738 receiving yards; Wesley Walls, 4 receiving TDs. Defense - Reggie Howard, 66 tackles; Julius Peppers, 12 sacks; Mike Minter, 4 INTs.
BEARS TEAM RANK: Rushing Offense - 86.0 yards per game (32nd in NFL); Passing Offense - 199.1 ypg (22nd); Total Offense - 285.1 ypg (28th). Rushing Defense - 130.5 ypg (27th); Passing Defense - 232.4 ypg (26th); Total Defense - 362.9 ypg (26th).
PANTHERS TEAM RANK: Rushing Offense - 100.9 ypg (21st); Passing Offense - 167.2 ypg (31st); Total Offense - 268.1 ypg (31st). Rushing Defense - 105.2 ypg (8th); Passing Defense - 195.9 ypg (7th); Total Defense - 301.1 ypg (6th).
LAST MEETING: Oct. 8, 1995; Bears, 31-27. At Chicago, Robert Green’s 1-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds remaining lifted the Bears.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Bears - WR Booker needs 56 receiving yards to become the fourth player in club history with 1,200 yards in a season. … Chicago has at least one takeaway in 32 straight games. … K Edinger needs seven points for his second consecutive 100-point season. Panthers - TE Walls has 53 career touchdown catches and needs one more to tie Shannon Sharpe for second-most in NFL history at the position. … QB Peete needs one touchdown pass and 79 passing yards to set career highs in both categories. … Carolina has recorded 44 sacks this season, the second-most in the NFL behind Philadelphia’s 48.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bears - 1-6 on the road; Panthers - 3-4 at home.
INJURIES: Bears - OUT: TE John Davis (back); QB Miller (knee); DT Christian Peter (calf). DOUBTFUL: CB R.W. McQuarters (hip); DE John Stamper (shoulder). QUESTIONABLE: S Damon Moore (leg). PROBABLE: S Brown (knee); DT Keith Traylor (leg). Panthers - QUESTIONABLE: DT Shane Burton (knee); TE Walls (foot). PROBABLE: RB Joe Montgomery (shoulder); LB Will Witherspoon (knee).