In the moments following their 36-7 win over the Bears at Soldier Field, Deion Branch said it's nice to have clinched a spot in the playoffs but that is hardly their end goal. 

 

Bill Belichick met with the media following the Patriots' 36-7 win over the Bears on Sunday in Chicago. Belichick was understandably pleased with the effort of his team, now an NFL-best 11-2.

 

"The credit goes to the players," Belichick said. "They executed and did the things we needed to do. They've done it before and they've stepped up and did it again today. I'm really proud of the way they performed."

 

From the opening drive of the game, Tom Brady and the Patriots ran the Bears right out of their stadium in a 36-7 beatdown at a snowy Soldier Field, clinching an AFC playoff berth. Linebacker Gary Guyton returned a Johnny Knox fumble 35 yards for a touchdown and intercepted Jay Cutler. The Patriots improved to 10-0 in snow games all-time with Bill Belichick as their coach. 

 

Five others have joined the injured trio of Jonathan Wilhite, Mike Wright and Myron Pryor as Patriots inactive players for today's game in Chicago. 

 

Newcomer Chevis Jackson, a cornerback signed on Friday, is inactive as are WR Taylor Price, RB Thomas Clayton, offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger and Mark LeVoir. 

 

As expected, on Saturday night the Patriots downgraded three players to out for Sunday's game against the Bears in Chicago — cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, as well as defensive linemen Myron Pryor and Mike Wright. All three have been hampered by injury issues over the last few weeks, with Wilhite dealing with a hip problem, Pryor with a back issue and Wright with a concussion he suffered late last month against the Colts. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes' positive test for performance enhancers was due to amphetamines in a medicine designed to fight attention deficit disorder, according to a report from Comcast New England. Spikes, who was suspended for the rest of the regular season because of the infraction, issued a statement through the team about what happened on Friday. "The substance was a medication that I should have gotten clarification on before taking. It was not a performance enhancer or an illegal drug. The integrity of the game is very important to me.

Here are 10 things worth keeping an eye on in Sunday’s Patriots-Bears game:

WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL



The Bears have ruled linebacker Piso Tinoisamoa out for Sunday's game against the Patriots. Here's their complete injury report:

Did Not Participate
LB Piso Tinoisamoa (knee) Out

Full Participation
LB Nick Roach (back) Questionable

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

The Patriots have three players who did not participate in Friday's practice who have been ruled as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears in Chicago. Here's the complete injury report:

Did Not Participate
NT Myron Pryor (back) Questionable
CB Jonathan Wilhite (hip) Questionable
DL Mike Wright (concussion) Questionable

Limited Participation
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder/foot) Probable

According to a league source, Patriots rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes has been suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league’s banned substance rule. The suspension was first reported by the Boston Herald.