We're Black and Blue All Over:
Detroit Lions receiver Nate Burleson said earlier this week that his team will win in Sunday's matchup against the Chicago Bears. Across Lake Michigan, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs sent Burleson an unsolicited thanks Thursday.
Briggs, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "Deep down, every player, I would think you would guarantee a win every week you go into it. It's good. It should fire them up. I know it definitely fires us up. We've got it pinned up everywhere in our meeting rooms. I've been tricked into guaranteeing a win a long time ago. I won't be tricked again. We got beat like 45-12 or something like that. I'm not going to guarantee more wins."
The Bears were the last NFC North team to lose to the Lions, on Oct. 28, 2007. Since then, the Lions have lost 18 consecutive division games. Something has got to give sometime. Will it be this weekend? Well, er, uh....
Continuing around the division on this fine Friday morning:
Bears running backs Chester Taylor and Kahlil Bell had to be separated following an altercation during Thursday's practice, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Bears defensive tackle Matt Toeaina hasn't put up much in the way of numbers since replacing Tommie Harris in the starting lineup, but the team is pleased with his work, according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli: "Certain guys, statistics don't define them, and [Toeaina is] one of those guys. He makes some plays where he disrupts, and you might not see him, and he pushes a pocket. He does everything right, and he does it as hard as he can.''
When they rush four or fewer down linemen, the Bears rank first in the NFL in yards per attempt (6.0), opponent passer rating (68.0) and attempts per first down (3.5), and second in interceptions (13), according to Wright over on ESPNChicago.com.
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has moved past his Week 1 disappointment, writes Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News.
Lions place-kicker Jason Hanson, placed on injured reserve Thursday, doesn't plan to retire. Hanson, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "I feel like I can still kick. You don't get to pick to your ending, but I don't feel satisfied finishing like this. So I'll do whatever it takes to make an effort to be at my best form next year and try it again."
Lions center Dominic Raiola is the only healthy player remaining among the four who were selected captains in the beginning of the season, notes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews' production has dipped a bit recently, possibly a result of a shin injury that has limited his practice time. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more.
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette traces Packers receiver Donald Driver's season, which has been interrupted by a quadriceps injury. Driver: "It always happens -- you get to the point where if you go out and you're not 100 percent ... and you start to fall off, everyone starts complaining -- maybe he's old and can't do it anymore. That's not it. You can be young and have injuries. You can be old and have injuries. It doesn't matter. It's just how you bounce back from it. It doesn't matter about age. Age is just a number. I've proven that."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy is 5-14 in games decided by four points or fewer, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune speaks with Minnesota Vikings linebackers coach Fred Pagac, who has taken over most roles of the defensive coordinator since Leslie Frazier's promotion to interim head coach.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com considers whether any NFL team would want Brett Favre to play for it in 2011.
The Vikings could lose assistant head coach/running backs Eric Bieniemy to Colorado, writes David Ubben of ESPN.com.