Remember when former Green Bay Packers Head coach Mike Holmgren went all in with his quarterback at the time, Brett Favre? I remember him saying something to the effect that when he committed to the gunslinger, the two would be joined at the hip. If one went down, so would the other.
Well, let’s jump to 2012 and consider the tandem of the Chicago Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith and his quarterback, Jay Cutler. They, too, are joined at the hip, but the results of their past three years together has been far from successful, especially against their arch rivals, the Packers. Way before Cutler arrived in Chicago three years ago, Smith took the head coaching job in the Windy City. We all remembers his opening statement including his famous “beat Green Bay” mantra.
Well, that hasn’t worked out so well for Smith. Though he had some initial success against Green Bay in his early years, the tide has turned, especially since Cutler arrived. Over the past four years, Mike McCarthy is 7-1 against Lovie Smith. Even more telling, in his past seven starts against Green Bay, Cutler has a QB rating of 53.1.
Compare that to Aaron Rodgers’ performances against the Monsters of the Midway. In his past 10 games against the Bears, Rodgers sports an 8-2 record, and in day games, Rodgers is 5-0. The only two losses came in Monday Night affairs. During that same stretch, Rodgers has completed an impressive 71.9 percent of his passes (71-99) with 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. His passer rating over that stretch has been 117.4.
Those statistics come against one of the most consistent and vaunted defenses the NFL has seen in recent years.
Given that Lovie Smith’s goal over the years has been to beat the Packers and to emulate their success, he has fallen woefully short, especially since Cutler arrived. Joined at the hip, this may be Smith and Cutler’s swan song. They lose this game, their chances at a playoff spot diminish greatly and Smith’s goal of beating the Packers will once again be snuffed out. Though the Bears wouldn’t be mathematically eliminated, their play of late has been abysmal. Throw in the fact that they will be playing without Brian Urlacher, Tim Jennings, Robbie Gould or Earl Bennett, the Bears’ chances diminish even more. Sure, the Packers have their share of injuries. They will once again be hitting the field without Jordy Nelson or Charles Woodson, but this team has shown it can win even without some of their biggest stars.
So, it might be time to start the goodbye to these two. Already, the Chicago faithful are calling for the head coach’s head … and if that’s the case, you will see Cutler’s rolling right behind him.
Statistics aside, this is the Bears vs. the Packers. It’s going to be a a bloodbath on the poor December turf at Soldier Field. No prisoners will be taken and it might come down to defense, special teams and the kicking game. My best projection is the Packers find a way to make a couple more big plays than the Bears and put one more nail in the coffins of Cutler and Smith.