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Chargers-Bears matchup of the day: Thursday

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's battle between the Chargers and Bears.

Chargers pass protection vs. Bears pass rush

The pressure from Chicago's front four has been inconsistent at times, but it has been better over the past few weeks, thanks to DE Julius Peppers' improved play, and San Diego's patchwork offensive line could be in for a long and difficult outing Sunday.

San Diego placed four-time Pro Bowl OLG Kris Dielman (concussion) on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season, and the team might be without two other Week One starters on the offensive line Sunday with starting OLT Marcus McNeill (neck) and ORG Louis Vasquez (ankle) ailing. Dielman's replacement, Tyronne Green (hand), is also hurt.

C Nick Hardwick and ORT Jeromey Clary are the only full-time starters in decent shape health-wise.

The Chargers have allowed two sacks or more in all but one game this season and QB Philip Rivers was constantly under pressure in Week 10 against the Raiders, when he was sacked a season-high six times and hit six other times.

Peppers made a sack rushing from the three-technique position in Week 10 vs. the Lions, but the Bears might not need to be that creative to create a mismatch on Sunday. McNeill's backup, Brandyn Dombrowski, has 13 starts in his three-year career but he does not have the athleticism to match up against Peppers' combination of quickness and power.

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