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Smith: Time to win is now

Bears coach Lovie Smith tried to keep his message positive a day after his latest loss to the Green Bay Packers.

On Monday, Smith said the Bears' playoff hopes remained alive despite a slump that has included five losses in the past six games. At 8-6, the Bears likely will need to win their final two games of the regular season for a shot at a wild-card playoff berth.

All hope of a division title is lost after the Packers clinched the NFC North on the Bears' turf.

"Yesterday's game was a must game for the NFC North championship," Smith said Monday at Halas Hall. "But besides that, it wasn't a must game as far as what can happen with our season.

"This week, we're to that must game – a term that has begun for us. It's about Arizona."

Here is a look at the Bears' place in the conference standings entering Week 16.

Division leaders –1. Atlanta Falcons (12-2)2. San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1)3. Green Bay Packers (10-4)4. Washington Redskins (8-6)

Wild-card positions – 5. Seattle Seahawks (9-5)6. Minnesota Vikings (8-6)

In the hunt – 7. Chicago Bears (8-6)8. Dallas Cowboys (8-6)9. New York Giants (8-6)10. St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)

The Bears will return to practice Wednesday at Halas Hall to prepare for the Cardinals.

-Tom Musick

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