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Patriots-Bears matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Dec. 08, 2010 @ 3:13 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a matchup to watch in the Week 14 game between the Patriots and Bears:

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz vs. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick

Two of the greatest minds will be scheming against one another every time the Bears have the ball. Remember their famous meeting? Super Bowl XXXVI, when Martz was with the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf," yet Belichick got the last laugh in a shocking 20-17 win that started the Pats' run of three Super Bowl titles.

This season, both coaches have had to deal with adversity. Martz has had to find a way to adapt his pass-happy offense without a solid offensive line. Meanwhile, Belichick is in charge of the league's youngest defense.

Jay Cutler has been sacked a league-high 41 times, but the Martz offense is starting to flow. During the current five-game winning streak, Cutler has thrown 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. On Sunday, Cutler and Martz get to scheme to attack one of the league's worst passing defenses.

But Belichick has made his group thrive during the Patriots' current four-game winning streak. They constantly blitzed Ben Roethlisberger leading to a big win in Pittsburgh. The next week, the Patriots used disguises at the line to confuse Peyton Manning into throwing three picks. The opportunistic defense came up big against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day and then completely rattled Mark Sanchez on "Monday Night Football." As we wrote Tuesday, Belichick likely will attack the Bears' weakness and blitz often to get to Cutler.

Both units are clicking at the right time, the question is who will get the upper hand. Martz might have the better players. Speedy receivers Johnny Knox and Devin Hester could give the Patriots' corners problems while Earl Bennett has come on of late. And Matt Forté is a force running and catching the ball, another tough weapon for the Patriots to cover. Belichick's schemes have been working, but how many games can they come up with that big interception, something that saved them from a collapse against Indy? Expect a dose of blitzing and intriguing coverages that will attempt to dupe Cutler into throwing the ball away, something he is prone to do.

Each coach has a tough task leading up to a game with plenty of playoff implications. It will be a fun chess match to watch as the two act and react throughout the game.

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