The Packers are livin’ large and in charge after their 36-28 victory over the Rams on Sunday and will have two weeks to prepare for their divisional rivals from the Windy City as they enter their bye week. Let’s take a look at what we should expect to see when these two NFC North foes battle at Lambeau in an NBC Sunday night showdown.
Bears Snap Five-Game Losing Streak
It’s amazing to think that the Bears were 3-2 after five games, including victories over the Bengals and Raiders before they embarked on what was a brutal five games in the middle of their season. Not surprisingly, Chicago lost each and every one of them as the Packers, Bucs, 49ers, Steelers, and Ravens essentially put to bed any hopes that this Bears iteration would overachieve and secure a playoff berth.
Fast forward to Week 12 and Chicago was fortunate enough to get a divisional cupcake on Thursday night when they faced the Lions at Ford Field. But like everything else, even that Thanksgiving treat didn’t come easy as the Bears squeaked out a 16-14 victory and disappointed all those fans who saw their team win the game but fail to cover the three-point point spread.
Speaking of point spreads, the NFL odds being offered at all of the best online sportsbooks in their upcoming game against Arizona show Chicago as 7 to 7 ½ point home underdogs depending on where you shop. And that’s not entirely surprising as they will be facing the team with the best record in the league and one coming off of their bye week.
We should also note that there was a rather dark cloud hanging above the head of Chicago coach, Matt Nagy, leading up to the Detroit game as reports were swirling that the chairman of the team, George McCaskey, told Patch.com that Nagy would be terminated at season’s end. However, the day before the Thanksgiving game against the Lions, The Athletic first reported that McCaskey addressed the team and stated that the report was false and Nagy was still in the team’s plans going forward.
As for Matt Nagy, when asked about the rumor he said, “My focus is on these players and Detroit, and that’s it. That’s my job as a head coach and a leader, is to do that. These players have been amazing. They’ve been great. You have this quick turnaround after a loss like [Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens], and now here you go. The only thing we can do is focus on the now and do everything we can. Thursday is going to be here quickly.”
Packers Prepping for Postseason
It’s only Week 13 of an 18-week season yet it’s safe to say the Packers are already a lock to claim their third consecutive NFC North crown and looking towards something much bigger and better – the No. 1 seed in the NFC. After scoring an impressive, 36-28, win over the Rams despite a decimated offensive line and a quarterback nursing an injured toe, the Packers will have an opportunity to heal their wounds and get ready for the stretch drive.
Rodgers had been quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19, causing him to miss the game against Kansas City in Week 9, and had reportedly fractured his pinky toe working out on his own. “When I step on the field, I expect greatness,” said Rodgers. “Anyone who’s a great competitor feels the same way. I don’t lean on excuses: not practicing, a little toe injury.”
As many Packers fans know, the team has already claimed a 24-14 win over the Bears in hostile territory back in Week 6 and will now welcome their guests to Lambeau Field on December 12th in a nationally televised Sunday affair. As for recent history, Green Bay has dominated this series and is 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread versus Chicago over their last eight meetings spanning back to the 2018 season.
How healthy the Packers will be once they return to the gridiron is anyone’s guess but getting two weeks at this point in the season is nothing but a positive for the team. The biggest concern in facing the Bears is the possibility the Packers could overlook this game and focus on a pivotal matchup against the Ravens in Baltimore the following week.
This could be the proverbial trap game that catches so many great teams taking for granted a weaker opponent as a powerful foe looms on the schedule. But head coach, Matt LaFleur, seems to have his charges in a good place with a 9-3 record and only two other teams, Arizona and Tampa Bay – maybe three if we count Dallas at 7-4 – as possible rivals for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.
Remaining on Green Bay’s schedule is their game at home against Chicago followed by an away game at Baltimore, then home against Cleveland and Minnesota with the last game on the regular-season slate a road game in Detroit against the Lions.