The stakes are simple. They could not be more straightforward or any easier to decipher.
The Bears, currently on the very edge of every “In The Hunt” television graphic at 7-6, cannot afford to fall short in another game. That is, if they hope to extend their season into the first January of the 2020s. A depressing reality of needing two other crushing playoff weights to fail, the Rams and Vikings, can be forgotten for a moment. The Bears have to take care of their own business before they worry about receiving any assistance from the outside. There is no margin for error for a team that was lying face down, dead in the water in October.
This isn’t to profess that Mitchell Trubisky, Matt Nagy, and company aren’t capable of late season perfection in the form of a season-ending six-game winning streak. More that the odds are tall and long, and in all likelihood won’t end in their favor. But they’ll play on while hoping for the best, because that’s all that can realistically be done.
It is not hyperbole to say one quarterback on one team has had the Bears’ collective number more than Aaron Rodgers. Even with a victory over their rival this Sunday, Chicago can only max out its total wins over Green Bay with five in the 2010s. In the event of defeat, four wins would be the least success the Bears have ever enjoyed over the Packers in any respective decade of professional football’s existence. As Brett Favre was in the 1990s, Rodgers is the primary catalyst for that sustained irrelevance. And until he retires or shows more than faint glimpses of vulnerability, the Bears’ fortunes won’t shift back toward any Golden Age.
If the Bears have any interest in extending their 2019 season, they have no choice but to exact vengeance. Whether Rodgers rips the Bears’ still-beating heart out one last time this decade is an outcome they can control, as difficult as it may seem. The stakes are simple. The door is, somehow, open. Only the Bears can step through, or stub their toe in agony.
Windy City Gridiron’s staff picks for Bears-Packers in Lambeau Field.
Robert Zeglinski: Packers 24, Bears 21
I can’t think of a more poetic (and familiar) twist than Aaron Rodgers driving the final dagger into a disappointing Bears’ season.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Bears 27, Packers 20
Trubisky continues his recent trend of playing well against below average defenses and the Bears will pull off the upset, but it’ll be David Montgomery that has the big day.
Sam Householder: Packers 17, Bears 13
The door is cracked open, which means that the Packers are going to slam it shut. As my retired co-worker says, “Is it written in stone? Thou shalt not beat Green Bay.”
Bill Zimmerman: Packers 25, Bears 20
The Bears cling to a 20-19 lead with two minutes to go, but Aaron Rodgers hits Geromino Allison for a 55-yard touchdown. The Packers miss the ensuing two-point conversion but it doesn’t matter. Rodgers rips Bears fans’ hearts out and stomps on them ... again.
Erik Duerrwaechter: Bears 27, Packers 24
The Bears’ defense contained the Packers’ offense in Round 1. This time, the Bears’ offense will actually make an appearance, led by a red-hot Mitchell Trubisky.
Ken Mitchell: Bears 24, Packers 17
Trubisky’s statistical line: 20/28, 235 yards, two touchdowns
David Montgomery’s statistical line: 60 yards, one touchdown
Aaron Rodgers’s statistical line: 25/42, 274 yards (half of which come in garbage time), one interception
Robert Schmitz: Bears 24, Packers 21
Trubisky continues to operate the offense confidently and the Bears withstand a late Packer rally to keep their season alive.
Jacob Infante: Packers 26, Bears 24
Trubisky continues his hot streak with another good outing, but Rodgers sets the Packers up for a game-winning field goal. It results in a death of Chicago’s season more gruesome than Piggy’s demise in Lord of the Flies.
Robert likes Aaron Rodgers if only that his existence is a reminder that no matter hard you try, someone else is always standing ready to drop a cartoonish anvil from the perch of a window.
WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Whiskey Ranger; Robert Schmitz; Robert Zeglinski; Bill Zimmerman; Like us on Facebook.