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Most Important Bears: No. 1 Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jay Cutler. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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(CBS) As we count down to Bourbonnais, a panel of 15 670 The Score hosts, reporters and producers ranked their top 10 most important Bears players for the 2012 season. We compiled the rankings into one master list and will release the 10 Most Important Bears over the next 10 weekdays.

Next up:

No. 1 Jay Cutler

It’s not like the suspense was killing you. If Jay Cutler wasn’t No. 1 on the list then 670 The Score has major problems. One smart-ass panelist (cough, cough… Matt Abbatacola) even listed Cutler’s hand No. 2 on his list.

In a quarterback driven league, the Bears need Cutler to play all 16 regular season games and be healthy for the playoffs as well. 2011 taught us that if Cutler goes down, so do the Super Bowl hopes. Phil Emery was wise enough to bring in Jason Campbell as backup, and while he might be able to get the Bears to the playoffs should Cutler go down again, it’s doubtful he’ll be able to win a Super Bowl.

With an aging defense and a team with some key question marks, Cutler is supposed to be the constant for a team with high expectations. He’s got toys to play with now, including his friend Brandon Marshall.

The question is, can the offensive line keep Cutler on his feet?

If they can’t, the No. 1 most important Bear could go down again and the Super Bowl hopes will fall with him.

The Rest Of The List:
No. 2 Julius Peppers
No. 3 J’Marcus Webb/Chris Williams
No. 4 Brian Urlacher
No. 5 Brandon Marshall
No. 6 Matt Forte
No. 7 Lance Briggs
No. 8 Gabe Carimi
No. 9 Henry Melton
No. 10 Shea McClellin

The 10 Most Important Bears were decided by 15 Score contributors who ranked their most important players from  1-10. The rankings were then compiled into a master list by assigning point values to the votes (a No. 1 vote is worth 10 points and a No. 10 vote is worth 1 point).

The panel: Mike Mulligan, Zach Zaidman, Laurence Holmes, Matt Spiegel, Adam Hoge, Jason Goff, Matt Abbatacola, Ben Finfer, Jay Zawaski, Nick Shepkowski, David Schuster, Herb Lawrence, Craig Miller, Dennis Gambino and Brendan McCaffrey.