By: Bill Tewes, Mark Prott, & Jim Boyce
Bears week needs no introductions, but it does need predictions. See what we think about the upcoming game below.
PACKERS 24 BEARS 14
If you have not heard already it is going to be frigid in Chicago on Sunday. The weather will no doubt have an effect on how the game is played and this could help Chicago to an extent, if only because on a picture perfect day the Packers are a much better team. Nonetheless I would be surprised if either offense moved the ball in big chunks and this could be a prime day for a defensive or special teams score to provide the spark.
The Bears best offensive weapon at this point is rookie RB Jordan Howard, who since the last time these two teams met has been pretty dang good at churning out yards. If I was Dom Capers I would stack up the box and see if Matt Barkley can throw in the bad weather. The Packers could and should pick off a couple passes and give the offense short fields.
I am a little worried about Rodgers and his calf, it was clear in the Seattle game he was not going to move from the pocket. The offensive line will need to continue their stellar play and keep that pocket clean. As long as he has time to throw, Rodgers can still eat the Bears secondary alive no matter how cold it is.
PACKERS 31 BEARS 17
Without running the risk of being labeled a Ty Montgomery fanboy, I think it is safe to say that this week of all weeks in the season would be an appropriate time to unleash the man at running back. With Starks out with a concussion from an unfortunate car accident nad Cristine Michael being himself, it is time for Montgomery to get 20+ carries, especially in a game that might be difficult on Green Bay’s pass attack.
The Chicago Bears have been decimated on both sides of the ball, but their defense has been gutted by injuries and suspensions. They will be without free agent acquisition Danny Trevathan after being placed on IR earlier this season as well as linebacker Jerrell Freeman who was suspended for PED usage. The Bears pose absolutely not threat to Green Bay on the defensive side and even with the weather being an obvious concern for both teams, I think Aaron Rodgers has proven he can still be extremely surgical not matter what the conditions are.
I think Green Bay will get out to an early lead and then decimate Chicago. Even with the Bears getting Alshon Jeffrey back, the only other real weapon they have is Jordan Howard and that will not be enough to keep them in contention with a Packers offense that has been clicking for a few weeks now.
PACKERS 31 BEARS 15
In all actuality the Packers are playing their fourth straight win or go home game. While not an easy road into the playoffs, if the Lions slip up today against the Giants or next week against the Cowboys, the Packers are in if they win out and will be feared by all as the hottest team in the tournament, Rodgers calf/hamstring injury not withstanding. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While this battle tested road could pay dividends down the stretch the Bears will certainly be chomping at the bit to knock the Packers out of contention. They almost knocked off the Lions last week and it is apparent that this squad has not given up on Head Coach John Fox. However, the Packers simply have more to play for and being bone chilling cold has a way of making some teams look they want to get out of the stadium as quick as possible.
The guess here is the Packers will jump out to a quick lead and kill the Bears hopes and desire to be out there in the frigid temperatures. Matt Barkley has been much better than expected but the Packers defense is hot and I don’t see that changing today. The key will be getting that early lead and taking surprising Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard out of the game and making Barkley win with his arm. On offense I expect a heavy dose of Ty Montgomery both out of the backfield and running the rock.