Sunday’s NFL schedule concludes with an old-school NFC North rivalry game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.
The Packers have had their way with Chicago recently, including a 24-14 win earlier this season. On Sunday night, the Packers will be 12.5-point favorites at home with an over/under of 43 points.
For the Bears, the season is all but lost, as Chicago is 4-8 heading down the stretch. If not for a close win on Thanksgiving over the Lions, the Bears would have lost their last seven games. At this point, it would take a near miracle for Chicago to get into the playoff picture.
Meanwhile, the Packers are starting to run away with the NFC North title. Even with the Vikings winning on Thursday, Green Bay is 3.5 games ahead of Minnesota and two wins away from clinching the division title. But if the Packers want the best record in the NFC, they need to keep winning because they are a game behind Arizona.
Back from Vacation
The Packers had a bye last week and are hoping to come back from it a little healthier than they were previously. However, it remains to be seen if Aaron Rodgers will come back feeling better after giving his toe injury time to heal.
The Packers will also be without Randall Cobb this week while Davante Adams is listed as questionable, so the team around Rodgers may not be 100%.
The Packers are also trying to get by with some injured players on available on the defensive side of the ball. Over their last two games, the Pack has given up a total of 62 points to the Vikings and Rams, so the Green Bay defense can be vulnerable against quality offensive teams. On the bright side, the Packers have kept half of their opponents to 17 points or less, so they can dominate subpar offensive teams.
Playing with Fields
Surely, the Bears fit the definition of a subpar offensive team, as Chicago has the fewest passing yards in the league and the third-fewest points at 16.8 per game. Of course, there is a change with Justin Fields returning from injury and getting the start this week.
While Fields still has a lot to prove as a passer and has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns this year, his mobility can create problems for opposing defenses.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears are a little better defensively than the numbers would suggest. Injuries to Khalil Mack and others have held back the Chicago defense, which doesn’t do enough to create takeaways.
But the Chicago linebackers are something special, as Robert Quinn has 12 of the team’s 33 sacks, which is a lot for a team that’s played from behind for most of the season.
Getting Heated in the Cold
With Green Bay’s offensive line a little compromised, the Bears might be able to put some pressure on Rodgers and throw him off balance. Plus, December games at Lambeau Field usually mean a lot of running the ball by both teams, which will shorten the game.
When all is said and done, it’ll be tough for the Packers to cover 12.5 points, which is something they’ve only done three times this year.
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