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Bears Nation's most wanted

September 19, 2013|By Jack M Silverstein, For RedEye

If a football team were the Corleone family, the quarterback would be Michael: a leader who carries out the orders from the top, and who may in fact be more important than the don himself. And with five more games before the bye week, the Bears face a formidable run of Michael Corleones. RedEye takes a look at these five opposing QBs and ranks them on the "Virgil Sollozzo Threat to the Family" scale.

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Week 3: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

Record vs. Bears: 1-1, 197.0 passing yards per game, 2 TDs, 1 INT

Pro Bowls: 2007, 2011

Big Ben is still big, but his production in 2013 has been anything but. Bereft of his leading receiver from 2012 and with injuries at running back, tight end and the offensive line, the men in Roethlisberger's huddle are a much different bunch than the team that lost Super Bowl XLV. Roethlisberger's trademark pump fake may still pose problems—the Bears had trouble with that against Minnesota's Christian Ponder, for goodness' sake—but with a line that's allowed seven sacks and few intimidating offensive options, the Bears look at Roethlisberger like Sollozzo sizing up Don Corleone: "Five years ago, could we have gotten to him?"

Virgil Sollozzo Threat to the Family Scale: 3 out of 10

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Week 4: Matthew Stafford, Detroit

Record vs. Bears: 1-5, 243.7 passing yards per game, 8 TDs, 8 INTs

Pro Bowls: none

The only player on this list without a Pro Bowl appearance is also one of only four quarterbacks in league history to pass for 5,000 yards in a season. Stafford has beaten the Bears only once in six games, and has topped 300 yards against them only once. Their meeting in last season's finale was arguably Stafford's best game of the series, and even that was a loss. In other words, "He hit 'em with five shots, and they were still alive!"

Virgil Sollozzo Threat to the Family Scale: 5 out of 10

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Week 5: Drew Brees, New Orleans

Record vs. Bears: 1-4 (including playoffs), 245.0 passing yards per game, 10 TDs, 6 INTs

Pro Bowls: 2004, 2006, 2008-12

Joining Stafford in the 5,000-yard club is Drew Brees, a future Hall of Famer who had bad luck against the Monsters of the Midway—until their last meeting, when he carved up the Bears for 270 yards and three touchdowns. With the Saints free and clear of their Bountygate suspensions, Brees is off to a scorching start, as if to announce to the rest of the league that "That's my family, k? It's not me."

Virgil Sollozzo Threat to the Family Scale: 8 out of 10

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Week 6: Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants

Record vs. Bears: 2-1, 170.3 passing yards per game, 1 TD, 4 INTs

Pro Bowls: 2008, 2011, 2012

The only quarterback on this list with a winning record vs. the Bears also has the worst touchdown-to-interception ratio against them. So you figure it out. Their last meeting is remembered for Jay Cutler getting sacked nine times in the first half, but the Bears did a nice job on Eli, too: 195 yards, no scores, two lost fumbles. Eli was practically sleeping with the fishes.

Virgil Sollozzo Threat to the Family Scale: 5 out of 10

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Week 7: Robert Griffin III, Washington

Record vs. Bears: one preseason loss

Pro Bowls: 2012

It's been a rocky 2013 for RG3. He's thrown for 300 yards in consecutive games for the first time in his career, but his team is 0-2, having lost two games by a combined 24 points. This will be the Bears' first regular-season look at Griffin, who spent the offseason recovering from a knee injury. Hopefully after this game is over, RG3 fans will be looking forlornly at the Bears defense, crying out for all to hear, "Look how they massacred my boy!"

Virgil Sollozzo Threat to the Family Scale: 4 out of 10

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Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. @readjack.

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