Shawn: So, everything comes down to this for the Green Bay Packers, and it is no surprise.
Win and you’re in. Lose and your season is over. Essentially, the playoffs start this week for the Packers and Chicago Bears.
As everyone with an Internet connection knows by now, Aaron Rodgers will be playing. That fact changes the betting line from Bears by 4.5 to Packers by 3.
Obviously Rodgers should have a bone to pick with the Bears, but then again, we always have a bone to pick with them.
Conversely, the last time the Packers and Bears played a game like this it was in the NFC Championship game after the 2010 season. Jay Cutler preferred standing on the sideline and making faces to playing, and the Packers ripped it from the Bears in their own stadium. Many of the Bears should remember that as well.
Jay Cutler has been terrible against Dom Capers, which has helped the Packers dominate this rivalry in the last five seasons. Cutler has at times looked more comfortable in the Marc Trestman system this season, and at other times he has looked like the same old Cutty.
Maybe because of the sad state of the Packers defense, I feel like Cutler is due to have a decent game against us. He certainly has better weapons at his disposal and a better offensive line protecting him. Plus, take a look at the Bears’ injury report once. There isn’t one. No one is injured. Earl Bennett missed practice on Thursday for non-injury reasons. Otherwise, the Bears had 100 percent participation in practice.
Of course, that was also the case last week when the Bears got dump-trucked by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears’ defense just isn’t any good, whether it is healthy or not. It is just worth pointing out that the Packers aren’t fated to win this game just because Aaron Rodgers is going to take the field.
I think we all know that both defenses aren’t very good. So, that means this game hinges on the quarterbacks. Whoever has the best red zone performance and the fewest mistakes likely wins this game. Can Cutler avoid the big mistakes that have made him who he is? How will Aaron Rodgers play after two months of no football?
Even though the offenses are good and the defenses are terrible, don’t be surprised if there is a little defense played in this game just because it is Packers vs. Bears.
The Packers use Eddie Lacy and Aaron Rodgers to consistently put up points and keep the pressure on Cutler and the Bears’ offense. Someone for the Packers on defense makes a play or two, and that is the difference.
Packers 38, Bears 31
Andrew: Packers-Bears. NFC North. The Norris. Rough and tumble football. Division title and postseason birth on the line. Three yards and a cloud of dust. Tough defenses. Where touchdown numbers and quarterback ratings shrivel up like the common man’s testes in the frigid cold of the Windy City.
Don’t make me laugh.
This game might need two scoreboards. There might be that many points scored. I mean seriously, who is going to stop anyone? The oddsmakers currently have the over/under for this game set at 52.5 and it’s my opinion they missed the mark. Either team is capable of scoring 50 in this game. Hell… both teams are capable of scoring 50 in this game.
Jay Cutler, long the sad clown of the NFL, has to be frothing at the mouth to redeem his putrid past versus the Packers and Dom Capers. With his rugged outside receiver tandem, Cutler has more toys to play with now, but can he avoid being Jay? Let’s hope not. Regardless, I see Matt Forte having a career day and he will be the biggest thorn for the Packers. The Bears are going to get theirs.
Aaron Rodgers is coming off an eight-week injury, but has proved capable of firing right out of the gate after a layoff, as demonstrated in the home opener versus the Saints to open the 2011 season as the defending champs. Everyone talked about the rust and that Rodgers should have done more offseason work with his guys. Well he gave all those doubters a big middle finger that night at Lambeau and I see no reason why he wouldn’t have his ‘A’ game on Sunday. Ok… I’ll give him two drives to straighten it all out, but I doubt he’ll even need that. Look for him to come out guns blazing.
At the end of the day I think the Packers defense, as beaten down and banged up as they are, have a better shot to make one more play than the Bears defense. Which is to say I think Jay Cutler will make one more ill-advised play than Aaron Rodgers. You can call it whatever way you see fit, but that will be the difference.
Green Bay 51, Chicago 41