Chicago Bears: 5 Players Key to Bears Making NFC North Comeback

Bob Bajek@bobbajekAnalyst IIIOctober 17, 2011

Chicago Bears: 5 Players Key to Bears Making NFC North Comeback

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    For the Chicago Bears to win the NFL's NFC North Division, Devin Hester and several other Bears need to step up.

    Standing at 3-3 and effectively four games behind the Green Bay Packers, the Bears have much ground to recover in their remaining 10 games.

    Beating the Minnesota Vikings is one thing. Catching the Packers and the Detroit Lions in the NFC North is quite another.

Wide Receiver Roy Williams

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    Roy Williams was brought into Chicago this offseason to be the top receiver.

    So far, he has not played anything like that.

    He has nine catches for 131 yards and no touchdowns. No. 11 does have eight first-down catches.

    Sunday night was a good showing by Williams. He managed three catches for 50 yards.

    Williams, if he gets going, will make secondaries concentrate some of their coverage on him. This would free wide receivers Johnny Knox and Devin Hester on some routes and provide quarterback Jay Cutler with more options.

Strong Safety Major Wright

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    After eating some bench, strong safety Major Wright played well against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Wright had four tackles and did not give up the big play, something that has plagued him in the early going.

    He also pressured Minnesota quarterback Donovan McNabb on a safety blitz. 

    Wright was drafted last year to be a difference maker. With strong safety Chris Harris hurting and free safety Brandon Meriweather not playing well, Wright needs to play at a high level for the Bears secondary to keep Chicago in future games.

Defensive End Julius Peppers

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    The Bears defensive line goes where Julius Peppers takes it.

    The star defensive end has started slow in 2011, having 19 tackles and four sacks. The good news, though, was Peppers was in the same position last season and had a fiery second half. 

    Against the Minnesota Vikings, Peppers was disruptive with three tackles and two sacks. Conversely, the struggling Bears' defensive linemen added three sacks.

    Before Sunday, the defensive line had only eight sacks in five games.

    When No. 90 is disruptive, offensive lines have to double-team him.That will give defensive end Israel Idonije and defensive tackles Anthony Adams and Henry Melton more less defenders to worry about.

Running Back Matt Forte

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    Running back Matt Forte has been nothing short of amazing in 2011.

    The fourth-year back from Tulane has 527 rushing yards and 381 receiving yards, totaling 908 yards of offense in six games.

    Forte has 43.2 percent of the Bears' total offensive yards. He also has 37 first downs and two touchdowns.

    Chicago is a much better running team than a passing one. Forte needs to continue getting touches and producing like he's doing because he's the heart and soul of the offense.

Wide Receiver/Return Specialist Devin Hester

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    Wide receiver/return specialist Devin Hester had a monster performance against the Minnesota Vikings.

    He hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jay Cutler in the first quarter. He ended up with five catches for 91 yards.

    Defenses will have headaches if Hester becomes a more reliable receiver.

    No. 23 wasn't done, as he had a 98-yard kickoff return in the third and almost broke another on a 27-yard punt return.

    Hester already has 516 return yards for two touchdowns. His duel threat at receiver and the return game could make the difference in Chicago's division push.

    Bob Bajek is a writing intern at Bleacher Report. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed at and Twitter.