User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Tillman banged up as Bears brace for Lions

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - As if Calvin Johnson didn't pose enough problems, Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman is facing another hurdle as the Chicago Bears prepare for the Detroit Lions - a groin issue.

The star cornerback's health is a concern for a team that's suddenly banged up after staying relatively healthy through the first two games.

Tillman said he will play against Detroit after leaving last week's win at Pittsburgh because of tightness in his groin. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Steelers, and the NFC North-leading Bears (3-0) are hobbling a bit heading into Sunday's game at Detroit.

The most immediate concern is Tillman, who would figure to be tasked with containing Johnson much of the time. The Bears actually had success against Megatron in recent years, but if their two-time Pro Bowl cornerback is limited or unavailable, they could be in for a rough time even with Lions receiver Nate Burleson recovering from surgery on a broken arm this week.

``The guys that we have available for this game will play,'' defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. ``We'll play our defense. We'll work hard to execute, play fast, smart and physical and we'll play the game.''

Tillman vowed he will be playing.

Asked if there's any chance he does not play against the Lions, he said, ``No, I'll be there.''

He missed practices last week because of knee soreness and left the Steelers game after his groin tightened up. He did not practice on Wednesday, and coach Marc Trestman said he's day to day.

``He didn't work today,'' Trestman said. ``He was on the side and in the training room. He was in early this morning.''

If Tillman is limited or even unavailable, that would likely mean a bigger role for Zack Bowman. It would also probably come as a bit of a relief for Johnson.

Few teams have been as successful in containing the Lions' star as the Bears, and a big reason for that is the 6-foot-2 Tillman.

``He's a big strong physical corner,'' Johnson said. ``He's smart. He's seen a lot of football, so he understands some of the concepts probably that we do on offense, so we've got to throw different things at him to get him off balance.''

And he's given Johnson fits, particularly of late.

Tillman has seven pass defenses and an interception in his last three games against the Lions - all wins for Chicago. And Johnson hasn't finished with more than 81 yards or caught a touchdown during that stretch. He had just three catches for 34 yards at Soldier Field last October and in the season-finale, he finished with five receptions for 72 yards. That gave him 1,964 yards and left him just short of becoming the first player with 2,000 receiving in a season.

Only twice in 11 games against Chicago has Johnson hit the 100-yard mark.

``I have a great defensive line,'' Tillman said. ``A lot of the plays I'm able to make on Calvin have been because of my defensive line. If you take them out of the mix, I can't do anything. It's a team effort, rush and cover. I cover their rush and they definitely help me out a lot. They make my job a lot easier.''

That line has actually struggled this year, and it just lost a key piece, even if Melton was off to a slow start.

Coming off a Pro Bowl season, he suffered a concussion on the first play of preseason and did not return until the start of the regular season. That might help explain why he had no sacks after recording six a year ago, third most by a defensive tackle in the NFL.

Then, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Pittsburgh, bringing his season to an end.

Nate Collins figures to start in his place, and Zach Minter, an undrafted free agent from Montana State, could get playing time.

``You've got to make sure you're aware of what your assignments are on twists and different kinds of coordinated rushes that we have,'' Trestman said. ``So that's critically important. Nate's done that. He's been in there since the OTAs. He's familiar with what we're trying to accomplish and he's an active player. He's got a high motor, he moves around well and we expect he'll do well.''


AP NFL website:

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Mejia: TNF - Colts at Texans
Sportsbook: Colts, Texans hook up
SportsBoss: NFL Quarterly Rankings
Rogers: Public Fades - Week 5
Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 5
Mejia: NFL Week 5 Essentials
Former NFL coach Infante dies at 75
Houston QB Mallett looks for turnaround
Raiders LB Aldon Smith pleads not guilty
Why Buy Picks From
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
20-5 L25 Picks, 10-3 L13 G-Plays
3-1 Sunday, 19-8 L27, +1,147 TY
21-6 L2 Sundays, +1,270 TY
8-1 NFL Week 4 Record
6-1 Sunday, 12-5 L17 Run
10-4 L4 Sundays, 17-9 This Year
4-2 Sunday, 14-5 L4 Sundays
3-1 Sunday, 15-6 This Season
5-1 +440 Sun., 11-4 +745 L15
8-3 L2 Sundays, 9-4 L13 Picks
3-1 Sunday, 7-3 L10 Selections
11-4 Record L3 Sundays
10-4 L14 Guaranteed Plays
7-3 Over/Under Plays TY
3-1 L4 NFL Selections
3-1 G-Plays, 4-1 NFL Week 4
4-1 Picks Sunday
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks - Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1270
Marc Lawrence + 1215
Stephen Nover + 1147
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 685
Hank Goldberg + 492
John Fisher + 440
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 71 %
Marc Lawrence 71 %
Stephen Nover 67 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Marc Lawrence + 450
Kevin Rogers + 435
Vince Akins + 370
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 460
Jimmy Boyd + 382
Matt Zylbert + 285
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 632
Marc Lawrence + 600
Mark Franco + 500
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership