Let's briefly reset things, since honestly, I kind of put football to the back burner last week after the Bears went on bye. The Bears are 3-5, have the NFC North basement to themselves, and sit three games behind the Lions and two games behind the Packers. A win on Sunday nullifies the loss to the Packers in Week 4, putting the Bears a game behind the Packers with four divisional games left, including both against the Lions. A loss on Sunday knocks the Bears three games behind the Packers, giving the Packers the full tiebreaker, and at least three games behind the Lions. A playoff berth would still be doable - but it would take a major confluence of events as well as both wins against the Lions (and maybe both wins against the Vikings for division record purposes). Must-win? I think I'll go with that.
Of course, it's the Packers in Lambeau, which will not be an easy task.
|Total Points||222 (6th)||191 (19th)|
|Total Yardage||2,769 (17th)||3,034 (25th)|
|Passing Yardage||1,989 (13th)||1,806 (9th)|
|Rushing Yardage||780 (24th)||1,228 (32nd)|
So What's Changed?
Quite a bit, actually, especially the circumstances. The last time the Bears played the Packers they were at 2-1 coming off hot victories against the Jets and Niners, and the Packers were 1-2 and coming off a 7-point performance against the Lions. Since that game against the Lions, the Packers scored 27 points in four of their last five games (all wins) and the fifth (a loss to the Saints) they still scored 23 points (of course, allowing 44 puts a cramp in that).
But, apart from that disaster against the Saints, they've been playing much better in general and offensively especially. They turned the ball over only once in the three games between the victory against the Bears and the loss to the Saints. Each of those games also generated at least 120 yards rushing for the Packers.
Randall Cobb is turning into quite the touchdown nightmare (Turning into, S?), with nine so far on the year. Jordy Nelson continues to be a strong number one option with 737 yards and 6 touchdowns, despite having a quiet game last week against the Saints. Richard Rogers still hasn't contributed much on the year, but came on strong last week with 4 receptions for 58 yards (compared to the rest of his year).
On defense, Julius Peppers leads the team now with four sacks; Nick Perry so far has contributed three, and draft pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has both a sack and an interception. But they're still the worst run defense in the league, and the last time these two played, Ka'Deem Carey went off in the only significant action he's really seen this season as he and Matt Forte combined for 235 yards on the ground. The running game has gotten significant use over the year - but sooner or later the offense needs to find ways to get Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to do what they can.
And defensively, between the linebackers being constantly in flux and largely unproductive, a defensive line that apart from Willie Young has shown flashes but not done a lot, and a secondary that's been in flux and injured has shown flashes but not done a lot (aside from Kyle Fuller), who knows where things are right now. Shea McClellin's got four and a half career sacks against the Packers, including three in the first matchup last year, but was held out of the last matchup.
The Packers have been a team that's been on fire the last four weeks until the Saints game, and the Bears have found ways to stumble and fall on their face for the last month. If they hope to save their season, it has to begin with a victory over the Packers on Sunday night.