Packers vs. Bears: Lombardiave staff predicts
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears in a 2012 game. Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Here we are, Week 17 of the NFL regular season – Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears – Soldier Field – NFC North Division title and a trip to the playoffs on the line.
What more can we say? If this game were a gold rush, we would have hit the mother lode. The story lines in this one are thick and complicated extending nearly a century of head-to-head competition and culminating in today’s showdown in the Windy City.
Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, the Packers receivers, the Bears receivers, the Packers run defense, the Bears run defense … and that only touches the tip of the iceberg. This game has the makings of an epic duel.
So, what do the writers here at Lombardiave have to say about this one?
Check ’em out below:
Darryl Krejci: Since I have had such a banner year at predicting (I’ve blown every one!). I predict the Packers will win by a gazillion points. OK honestly, the return of Aaron Rodgers gives them a slight advantage and taking into consideration the amount of time he has been off and the fact that they are in Chicago, I am going to keep this simple. Rodgers leads the Pack to the NFC North title. Eddie Lacey will rush for 125 yards. And they all lived happily ever after! AMEN!!
Packers 27 Bears 14
Kevin Gibson: Well, well. The day of reckoning has come. A beleaguered Packers team gets its leader back just in time to take on the Bears who broke him and put him on the bench. But this game may actually not hinge on Aaron Rodgers; I am betting on a mostly healthy Eddie Lacy and a fair helping of James Starks to spearhead the attack, while the Packers keep Rodgers upright with the run. And they run, and they run, and they run — right down the Bears’ collective throat.
Packers 31 Bears 20
Eric Balkman: It all seems to be coming up Packers this week. Rodgers will start. Cobb might be back. And Lacy is expected to start. Talk about triple trouble. My guess is that Rodgers will get off to a slow start while he tries to get some of his rhythm back with his receivers in-game and Green Bay falls behind early.
While I can’t see either defense stopping the opposing offenses, I think Lacy cements himself as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year this game bludgeoning the Bears horrific rush defense. I don’t think Cobb will be able to sync up with Rodgers in such a short period of time, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make a big play on special teams.
I expect Marshall and Jeffery to have big games as well. But it will be the Green Bay D stepping up and making a couple big plays in crunch time to get the Pack the division championship and a playoff berth. Chicago just can’t seem to beat Green Bay in big games if the past few years are any sort of guide.
Packers 28 Bears 24
David Burdette: I’m almost afraid to predict this one, Packers fans. We have a lot of good happening here and I don’t know that I want to ruin it with a prediction.
So you know what? I won’t.
This will be an amazing game to watch, especially with the chance to see the Packers get a shot at the playoffs. Put on your seatbelts guys, its about to get crazy.
Patrick Hughes: Well it all comes down to one game, one BIG game! If the Packers can get past the Bears anything can happen in the second season. And I’ll be honest I am feeling pretty good about this one – provided, of course, Aaron Rodgers makes it through this game unscathed.
As I look into my Green and Gold crystal ball I see Aaron Rodgers returning to form and Eddie Lacy punishing the Bears’ weak defense. The crystal ball tells me that the Packers defense also benefits from Rodgers’ return; for they will spend less time on the field. It will be a slugfest for a bit, but the Packers pull away in the second half. Playoffs here we come!
The Bears still suck…
Packers 31 Bears 17
Dan Dahlke: This could be the game of the year. I don’t care that the Bears laid an egg against Philadelphia last week. As Packers fans, we know the Bears are going to be tough, especially at home. It should be a close one. The level of competition will be heightened with a healthy Rodgers in the lineup and a Jay Cutler that will have another week being back to full strength.
Despite the quarterback situation, the running game will be the key for this cold December game. Neither defense is very good at stopping the run and both teams have very talented running backs in Matt Forte and Eddie Lacy. Look for this game to be won at the line of scrimmage. I will take the Packers in a NFC North classic.
Packers 27 Bears 24
Kyle Fellows: I’m really looking forward to watching this weekend’s performance. Aaron Rodgers’ return breathes life into this Packers team. The stage is set and the drama seems perfect. The Packers get a win and are into the playoffs with a (slightly unexpected) division title. Playing at Soldier Field will make this one close, but Green Bay comes out on top.
Look for Chicago to make a few big plays, but also expect a few late Christmas gifts from Cutler in the form of turnovers. Lacy will run with ease and Rodgers will let loose. This is going to be a good one. Packers win.
Packers 31 Bears 23
Evan Kenney: High scoring shoot out in the midst! The fire is lit as Aaron Rodgers returns to the lineup. Jay Cutler does his best Jay Cutler and gives Aaron Rodgers more possessions. Eddie Lacy is probable and a possible return of Randall Cobb increases the Packers’ chances at the playoffs.
Packers 38 Bears 31
Luke Hanish: It’s been awhile since we’ve seen as dramatic a point spread shift as there was at the moment Aaron Rodgers was cleared to play. Undoubtedly this makes the team as a whole better from an emotional standpoint, yet I personally believe the same case could be made for the potential return of Randall Cobb.
The Packers defense is poor, but the Bears defense is worse. Look for a big (and hopefully healthy) day from Eddie Lacy as he will undoubtedly set up some beautiful pass action for Rodgers. If the defense can just make a couple key stops, the Bears shouldn’t be able to keep up with the scoring. The majority of Packers Nation seems to be more content with Cutler playing over McCown.
Packers 34 Bears 21
Kevin Dickens: He’s back. Yeah I really had to get that out! QB1 aka #12 has returned for Green Bay, shifting the outlook of the finale against the despised Chicago Bears.
With Rodgers now in the fold, I would expect a budding Green Bay offense to explode against a very susceptible Bears’ defense. Eddie Lacy and James Starks will tag team for a potent running attack that will be too much to handle. I am interested to see McCarthy’s play calling with Rodgers under center. McCarthy states the gloves will be off for Rodgers. I’m hoping so.
The defense has their work cut out for them. The 1-2 punch of Brandon Marshall & Alshon Jeffery have become as good as anyone in the league this year. The defensive line needs to be better to take advantage of a shaky offensive line of the Bears. The battle in the trenches will determine how fast the wheels fall off for Jay Cutler.
Packers versus Bears week has it all on the line. I’m expecting a shootout. And if that’s the case… GO PACKERS!
Packers 31 Bears 20
Ray Rivard: The Packers versus the Bears; the NFC North Division title on the line; the playoffs on the line. What more can we say? Playing at home against a Aaron Rodgers-less team would have given the Bears a distinct advantage. While each team’s defense is weak, to put it politely, with Rodgers now under center, these team offenses match up nicely. Like all Packers/Bears games, this will be a dogfight. It could come down to special teams and defense.
That said, I feel the game is close through three quarters, but the Packers run game controls the clock in the fourth and the Packers move on to the first round of the playoffs.
Packers 29 Bears 24