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Five key matchups that will be pivotal in

Five key matchups that will be pivotal in today’s Bears game against the Bills:

1. Bears running back Matt Forte vs. Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny

Forte needs a big day in a big way, and today’s game offers a great opportunity. The Bills’ defense has been gashed against the run all season, and Forte showed what he could do against a bad team with 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Carolina in Week 5.

2. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman vs. Bills wide receiver Lee Evans

Evans might be one of the quietest go-to wide receivers in the game. His 5,698 career receiving yards are No. 3 in the Bills’ record book, trailing only Andre Reed and Eric Moulds. He caught three touchdowns in Week 7 and has built a good relationship with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

3. Bears tight end Greg Olsen vs. Bills safeties Donte Whitner and Jairus Byrd

Whitner and Byrd form the best strength of the Bills’ defense, and the Bears have failed to get much production out of Olsen or any other tight ends for the past three weeks. Olsen was shut out against Carolina and Seattle before hauling in three receptions against Washington.

4. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs vs. Bills running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller

Briggs took advantage of the Bears’ bye week to rest a bad ankle that kept him sidelined for most of the past two games. He will need to be at full strength today against Jackson and Spiller, who have teamed up to record the No. 13 rushing offense in the NFL.

5. Bears coach Lovie Smith vs. Bills coach Chan Gailey

Smith is a defensive-minded coach who has endured plenty of scrutiny in Chicago. Gailey is an offensive-minded coach who was canned in Dallas and has failed to win a game in Buffalo. A win today won’t reverse either coach’s image, but it could help delay the next round of insults.

SEnD Tom Musick

tmusick@nwherald.com

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