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Monday should bring a few answers

Some things are coming into focus as the season winds near an end.

Today, the Bears will put to rest the ugly 24-16 loss at Washington on Thursday. The team chose not to put the defeat behind itself with a post-mortem press conference on Friday and a chance to offer answers to some of the questions that arose.

Perhaps Lovie Smith will shed some light on player usage moving forward, such as who will play quarterback when the Bears travel to Minnesota next Monday night.

Brian Griese or Kyle Orton?

Then again, that might give the Vikings a little too much advance notice. Stay tuned later on today for more information.

As far as the schedule for 2008, that could go down to the final week of the season.

As usual, 14 opponents for next season are already determined with the Bears hosting New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Tennessee, and playing road games at Atlanta, Carolina, Houston and Indianapolis. The usual NFC North suspects account for the other six games.

Up in the air are two games determined on the Bears’ finish. They are set to host the like finisher from the NFC East and travel to the like finisher from the NFC West. If the season ended today, it would mean a home date with Philadelphia and a trip to St. Louis.

A look at how it breaks down:

NFC North

Lions 6-7

Bears 5-8

NFC East

Redskins 6-7

Eagles 5-8

NFC West

49ers 3-10

Rams 3-10

The Bears could climb out of the cellar, but are running out of time as they lose a tiebreaker to Detroit.

The finish in the West will be interesting. The Rams close with home games against Green Bay and Pittsburgh before a road trip to Arizona. The Niners close with home games against Cincinnati and Tampa Bay before a trip to Cleveland. The way St. Louis and San Francisco have been playing, that could be six losses between the two of them.