Quarterback Steve Fuller admits he was fooled about whom he and his Chicago Bears would play Sunday. But, he reasons, the Washington Redskins were fooled, too, so that makes them even.
The Bears, winners of the NFC Central with a 10-6 record, had expected to play the NFC West champion 49ers in San Francisco. They'd practiced accordingly.
Instead, they find, they will play the NFC East champion Redskins in Washington.
The New York Giants did the fooling, upsetting Los Angeles in Sunday's NFC wild card game.
But Bears Coach Mike Ditka insists that the time the Bears spent getting ready for the 49ers wasn't wasted.
"I think Steve will find that much of the game plan parallels what we did last week," Ditka said.
Fuller, who will start against the Redskins after sitting out two weeks with an injured shoulder, said he thinks the Redskins prepared to play the Rams next week.
"If we are a little behind, so are they," Fuller said. "I think they thought all along they would be playing the Rams."
Ditka disagreed, saying the Redskins likely geared up for the Bears for two weeks because they had already played the Rams and Giants this year.
Ditka and Fuller agree that the Bears' biggest obstacle will be RFK Stadium.
"Outside of Seattle it may be the hardest place to play in the league," Fuller said. "They've sold the games out for something like 40 years and the noise is very loud."
Ditka noted the home-field advantage will make his club the underdog (by seven points, right now).
"It's tough in RFK with 52,000 fans. The thing you have to remember is that you have no friends there," Ditka said.
The Bears will leave Christmas Day for Atlanta where they will work out through Friday. They will practice Saturday at the University of Maryland.