Yes, though these teams are reflections of their colorless
coaches, the Bears' Dick Jauron and the Patriots' Bill Belichick.
Each relies on a low-risk offense that does just enough to win,
and neither defense has allowed more than 17 points in a game
Chicago is better suited to go deep into the playoffs. For one,
it can do more with running back Anthony Thomas (above) in the
postseason muck than New England can with Antowain Smith. Also,
the Bears' playmaking linebackers helped hold six of 16 opponents
to single digits, and Chicago gave up the fewest points in the
The Bears' defensive pursuit, led by linebackers Warrick Holdman,
Brian Urlacher and Rosevelt Colvin, might be unmatched, though
only Urlacher earned a Pro Bowl nod. "It's O.K.," Holdman said
after being bypassed for the game in Hawaii. "People will get to
know us, starting in the playoffs."
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER