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Five Questions with Acme Packing Company: Plenty on the line for both teams as Packers face Bears in season finale

The Green Bay Packers are fighting for the playoffs while key pieces of the Chicago Bears are fighting for their future.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are fighting for a spot in the NFL Playoffs.

The Chicago Bears are fighting for their future.

This is a huge game for both teams as they both want to finish this season with an emphatic win over their rival.

To help preview the game, we sat down with our sister site, Acme Packing Company and spoke with Kris Burke to help get you set for a huge game this Sunday at Lambeau Field.

1. Just speaking honestly, most Bears fans were hoping Jordan Love fell flat on his face this year. From what I’ve seen, I don’t know if the Packers are headed toward having a third straight Hall of Fame quarterback, but he has certainly played well throughout a large part of the season. What is the evaluation of year one of the Jordan Love era?

It’s gone as expected, I’d say. We knew it was going to be an up and down season with a young and inexperienced quarterback. We just wanted/needed to see improvement.

And we have seen improvement! He’s near the top of the league since around Week 8 in multiple categories. That’s a very promising sign.

The big challenge for him next year is continuing what he’s doing after defensive coordinators have had an offseason to plan for him. If he does that, Love could be another darn good Packers quarterback.

Until then, optimism abounds but it’s too soon to crown him with foolish hot takes.

2. When the Packers were struggling earlier in the year, it seemed that a lot of Packers fans were really going after Matt LaFleur, which I thought was pretty crazy because I think he’s an excellent coach. With the team playing better of late, is the fan base behind him as head coach?

As an offensive mind and schemer, he’s top notch. Look at what he’s done with Love and such a young group around him. That’s a testament to how smart Matt LaFleur is. The “he’s only winning because of Rodgers” argument should officially be dead after this year.

That being said, his hiring decisions on the coaching staff leave a lot to question. The initial hiring of Joe Barry over Ejiro Evero deserved scrutiny from the moment it was made and given Barry’s performance, LaFleur deserves a ton of scrutiny for sticking with him so long.

Barry is pretty much gone after this year and the next DC hire could define LaFleur’s career, fair or not. Hopefully his offensive mind is enough to lure a quality candidate.

3. Obviously, the Packers have had the upper hand in this rivalry for just a brief three decades, if the Bears knock the Packers out of the playoffs, will that be a tough one for fans to swallow or will they accept a year of growth with a first-year starting quarterback and just shrug their shoulders?

It’d be a split result between the two teams, but if my math is correct the Packers can finish last in the division with a loss and a Vikings win. That’s tough to swallow regardless of circumstances because of that hasn’t happened since 2005.

However, again by my own math, that would be on the fourth tiebreaker (conference record) and while it SHOULD be a shrug (matching the record of last year with a new QB), that’s an incredibly tough thing to chew on for eight months.

4. That Packers defense really hasn’t performed well. I know Joe Barry is under heavy heat from every direction. How much is the blame on his scheme and play calling and how much is it on personnel?

I blame a lot of it on scheme. Brian Gutekunst has missed on some picks, but he’s too good of a talent evaluator to truly whiff on so many picks given the amount of resources dumped on to the defense.

The tape doesn’t lie either. Guys often aren’t in the same zip code as some pass catchers and sometimes they can’t tackle properly either. That’s scheme and technique and that’s squarely on the coaching staff.

Same with being so slow to adapt. The Packers will hemorrhage yards for three quarters before Barry makes an adjustment. I just don’t understand it.

The evidence is clear. If Matt LaFleur doesn’t move on, maybe even barring a miraculous playoff run, then I’m convinced Barry has some embarrassing dirt on the head coach.

5. Are there any player props from our friends at DraftKings that you see from a Packers perspective that jump out at you for Sunday’s game?

I haven’t seen a number for Bo Melton but if anything comes down late, I’d take the over. The Packers really might have something there and not enough people are talking outside of Green Bay about the performance against Minnesota.

As for what’s there now, I’d take Jayden Reed over 49.5 yards. He’s WR1 right now and though he’s been battling through injury, he’s going to be a darn good player for Green Bay.

We’ve reached the final game of the 2023 season. Will the Chicago Bears win 5 of their last 6 and save the job of Matt Eberflus and potentially Justin Fields? Or will the Green Bay Packers reach the playoffs with Jordan Love under center and crush the hopes and dreams of Bears fans yet again? We will find out the answer to these questions Sunday afternoon.

And as always, if you want to place a little wager on the game, DraftKings Sportsbook has you covered.