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Lance Briggs has chance to return for Bears vs. Eagles

The Chicago Bears' beleaguered defense received both bad and good news Monday.

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Coach Marc Trestman revealed that cornerback Charles Tillman will not come off the designated to return list when eligible in the divisional round of the playoffs because Tillman hasn't progressed enough in his recovery from a torn triceps.

Zack Bowman has held his own as a fill-in starter. While the Bears rank just 27th in total defense, it's in the ground game where they need to show the most improvement with the NFC North title on the line.

Fortunately, help is on the way in the form of seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs.

Trestman said Monday that he's reasonably optimistic Briggs will be available for the big game against the Eagles that recently was flexed into the Sunday night time slot.

There's a strong argument to be made that Briggs' fractured shoulder was far more costly than Jay Cutler's groin injury and high-ankle sprain.

Due to Trestman's quarterback-friendly system, Josh McCown's sterling play and the league's most dominant wide receiver duo, Cutler wasn't missed on offense.

The defense, on the other hand, has surrendered an eye-popping 188 rushing yards per game since the end of October when Briggs went down. Prior to Sunday's game versus the Browns' no-name backfield, the Bears had tied an NFL record by allowing a 100-yard rusher for six consecutive games.

Chicago isn't going to channel its notorious Monsters of the Midway defense of yore, but Briggs' return is a shot in the arm with big games against the Eagles and Packers to close out the season.

*The latest "Around The League Podcast" broke down the Cowboys' loss and every other Week 15 game. *

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