The NFL and the networks had the chance to flex this game out of prime time and they passed.
So now we have to sit through the Packers’ embarrassing the Chicago Bears on NBC in front of the majority of the NFL-watching country.
Maybe it expedites the seemingly inevitable firing of Matt Nagy, but somehow I doubt it. It’s just going to be the latest in a series of awful, embarrassing losses to the franchise that has ruled the NFC North since its inception in 2002 and the NFC Central before that since the early ‘90s.
And yet again we have to watch Aaron Rodgers “own us.”
An owning is expected too. According to DraftKings Sportsbook the Packers are favored by 11.5 points, which is a ton in the NFL.
It feels like it’s only going to get worse, so let’s get in to it.
Green Bay Packers (-11.5)
SB Nation site: Acme Packing Company
Record: 9-3, first in the NFC North
Last week: Bye week (36-28 win over the Rams on Nov. 28)
Game day, time, TV: Sunday, 7:20 CT, NBC
Bears all-time record against: 94-101-6 regular season, 1-1 postseason
Historical meetings: On Dec. 22, 2008, the Bears went to Green Bay for a Monday Night Football showdown.
That year, the Packers were having a down year and came in at 5-9 while the Bears were 8-6.
The Packers took a 14-3 lead on touchdown throws from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant.
But in the second half the Bears fought back in the second half, holding Green Bay to just a field goal and getting a touchdown from Kyle Orton to Greg Olsen and then a Matt Forte touchdown with just over three minutes left in the game.
Despite Aaron Rodgers driving the Packers down the field, Alex Brown blocked Mason Crosby’s field goal attempt with 25 seconds left and the game went to overtime.
The Bears won the toss and that was all they needed as Orton and Forte drove the Bears down and Robbie Gould kicked a 38-yard field goal to seal the win for Chicago.
Last meeting: Back in week six, to kick off the Bears’ five-game losing streak, the Packers beat the Bears, capitalized by Rodgers’ “I own you” comment after scoring a late TD.
The Bears lost 24-14.
Injury report: The Packers listed six players on their Wednesday injury report
- WR Davante Adams (hamstring)
- CB Kevin King (hip/knee)
- WR Malik Taylor (abdomen)
Did not participate
- QB Aaron Rodgers (toe)
- T David Bakhtiari (knee)
- WR Randall Cobb (core)
Offense: The Packers offense comes in to this week ranked 15th in both yards and points.
Their passing offense ranks ninth, while their rushing offense ranks 21st.
Led by Aaron Rodgers (66.2 cmp pct/2,878 yds/23 TD/4 INT) the passing attack of the Packers is about as good as it always is.
Rodgers targets are, of course, Davante Adams (80 rec/1,083 yds/5 TD), RB Aaron Jones (37/298/4), Randall Cobb (28/275/5), 27/261/2) and Allen Lazard (18/204/2).
Deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling (17/309/2) is also making plays on a more limited basis.
On the ground Jones (133 att/564 yds/3 TD) is nearly evenly splitting duties with Dillon (128/543/2). Rodgers (24/76/3) remains a big enough threat to take it in.
The offense still runs through Adams and Jones. They account for the bulk of the Packers’ offensive production. Stop Adams and Jones, stop the Packers.
Defense: This is one of the few years that you could argue that the Packers’ defense is carrying the offense, at least on paper.
The Packers’ defense comes into this week ranked fifth points allowed and seventh in yards allowed.
Their passing defense ranks ninth and their rushing defense ranks eighth.
And that’s been without two of their best players in Da’Zarius Smith and Jaire Alexander, who remain on IR.
The Packers’ standouts on defense include De’Vondre Campbell (99 tkl/1 sk/2 INT/2 FF/4 PD/4 TFL), S Darnell Savage (41 tkl/1 INT/8 PD), Rashan Gary (6.5 sk/2 FF/3 TFL/21 QB hits), Preston Smith (5 sk/5 TFL/10 QB hits/1 FF) and Kenny Clark (4 sk/7 TFL).
Key match ups: Are there any match ups in this game that favor the Bears?
Justin Fields is back and that’s about all that matters, so if Fields can out there and play his game, move the ball down the field, use his legs to keep the Packers honest and to buy himself time, there’s a chance a miracle can happen.
Fields is hard to defend and that is a match up that the Bears can exploit. The Packers are still recovering from a number of key injuries so there are some favorable match ups along the OL (Bahktiari might play but it’s not likely), so Robert Quinn and Trevis Gipson can find some pass rushing opportunities.
In the first meeting Khalil Herbert played well, so if the Bears can use the run and Fields’ legs to make plays, they can maybe keep it close.
- Despite good defensive numbers the Packers still lag in redzone defense, where they rank 31st, allowing opponents to score 71.9 percent of the time
- They also rank 27th in third down defense.
- Davante Adams had less than 60 receiving yards in two of Green Bay’s three losses
- Of the Packers’ three losses, the outlier is the Vikings game: Green Bay outgained Minnesota in yards and had no turnovers but the Vikings won on a field goal as time expired. They played a perfect game. That’s the about the blue print to beat them: Chicago would have to play flawlessly
- The Packers are the second-least penalized offensive team in the league and fourth-least penalized defense
- The Bears are 3-18 against the Packers since George McCaskey took over as chairman and 13-33 since Ted Phillips became team president, per Adam Hoge
Can the Bears play a perfect game and get a Sunday Night upset or are we in for more heartache? What can Justin Fields do coming back from injury?