Well… this is it. When I first saw this game on the schedule, I severely doubted that it could have any sort of legitimate ramifications for my Bears. But an injury to the best player in football dramatically shifted the NFC North landscape, leading to this final contest to see who represents the division in the playoffs. Sunday afternoon the Bears will try and keep their season alive while ending the season of their historic rivals. Let’s start this Gameday Preview!
(7-7-1) Green Bay Packers at
(8-7) Chicago Bears
What you need to know about the Packers franchise:
They’re still in Green Bay. There’s still nothing else to do besides watch this team play. It’s astounding that the town exists. Their year has been near-devastating thanks to a broken collarbone to Aaron Rodgers, which coincidentally was the result of a hit from Chicago’s own Shea McClellin the first time these teams played this season. The Packers struggled to find a suitable fill-in, bouncing from Seneca Wallace to Scott Tolzien to Matt Flynn, who managed to put a few wins together and keep this team alive. Now? He’s back…
He’s missed seven games following his injury in week nine, but Aaron Rodgers was cleared for action this week, causing the optimism of Packer fans to shoot through the roof. When healthy, Rodgers is the best player in the game. His mere presence means Chicago’s defense will have to worry about anything and everything. Rodgers was on his way to another 30 TD season when he he was derailed, so I’m sure he’ll be anxious to pick up right where he left off with these Bears.
Offensive Player to Watch
Rookie running back Eddie Lacy became a focal point of this offense in Rodgers’ extended absence. That can only be a good thing as the quarterback shakes the rust off early. Lacy, a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year, is one of those big bruising backs the Bear defense struggles against. I’m not looking forward to seeing him churn up 120 yards on the Soldier Field dirt.
Defensive Player to Watch
With Clay Matthews out again with a thumb injury, the Packer linebackers are going to need to make up for that pass rushing activity off the edge. Nick Perry is on the opposite side but he only has four sacks on the year. A.J. Hawk and defensive end Mike Daniels will step-up and be placed in more situations where they’re chasing the quarterback. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers loves to send blitzes, so Chicago’s protection schemes must be sound.
Green Bay is a three point road favorite.
How can the Bears win?
Re-injuring Rodgers? Controlling Lacy and limiting yards after the catch are the biggest keys to victory today. I’m just not convinced the Bears will do either. Chicago’s offense will be more than adequate, but what can the defense do?
Yeah, I’m sorry. I just can’t take this Bear defense against Aaron Rodgers, no matter whose field they’re on. I’d love to be wrong, but I’m picking the Packers here. Maybe a seven to ten point win.
How many heart attacks will Joe suffer?
All of that indifference I showed earlier in the season? Yeah not today. I will suffer ALL THE HEART ATTACKS.
And that’s all the prep-work I can give you! Stay tuned Bears fans. Your team’s fate is at stake.
Bear Down and Happy Jay Cutler Day!