The Green Bay Packers come into Week 15 looking to extend their current win streak to three games, versus their arch-nemesis Chicago Bears.
Green Bay won the first matchup of the season between the two teams back in Week 1.
Both teams had different expectations entering the season. Green Bay was wondering how this season would go under their new head coach Matt LaFleur. Meanwhile, the Bears were looking to defend their NFC North division crown.
Now the Packers are the second seed in the NFC and still have hopes at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. While Chicago is hoping to string together some wins down the stretch in hopes of securing a wild-card spot.
With both teams riding high, playing some of their best ball of the season, here are three bold predictions for Packers vs. Bears.
1. Packers duplicate Week 1 defensive performance
The first matchup between these two teams was surprising to say the least. The biggest surprise was that the Packers scored one touchdown and still won the game. Green Bay held Chicago to three points en route to a 10-3 victory.
Some impressive statistics were produced from the Packers defense. They had five sacks, forced the Bears to go 3-15 on third downs, held them to 46 yards rushing and one interception.
In their last two games, the Bears are averaging 27.5 points per game. On the other hand, Green Bay has only allowed 14 points per game in their last two. However, the Bears offense will be stifled on Sunday and the Mitchell Trubisky critics will be heard once again. Anticipate Chicago to score no more than 10 points, and the Packers to force at least two turnovers.
2. Rodgers excels versus the Bears
Since the arrival of Khalil Mack to the Bears, Rodgers has not had a breakout game. In three games against the Bears defense with Mack, Rodgers is averaging 1.33 touchdowns per game and 254 yards per game.
The last time Rodgers had a 300-yard passing day against Chicago was in Week 7 of 2016, where Rodgers had a statline of 326 yards passing, three touchdowns and a QB rating of 102.2.
Expect Rodgers to have a similar performance like he did in 2016. Rodgers will pass for over 300 yards and at least four touchdowns on Sunday versus the Bears. If this prediction comes true, Green Bay will win and have momentum heading into a major NFC North matchup versus the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16.
3. Special teams will dictate the game
The third phase of football is special teams, but special teams play is rarely mentioned unless it affects the outcome of the game. I believe the special teams play of the Packers will play a major factor in this game.
In a season where it feels like there have been more missed field goals and extra points than ever before, Green Bay is among the best in the kicking game. Mason Crosby is 16/17 on field goals this season, which is a 94 percent kicking percentage. In addition, Crosby is perfect on extra points this season. Both those stats place Crosby in the top three for kicking in the NFL.
Chicago’s kicking percentage on the season is 76.2 percent, so if the Bears squander points at any point during the game, it could be the difference between keeping the game close and the Packers coasting to a win.
In Week 1, Packers punter JK Scott placed five punts inside the 20-yard line which was crucial to that defensive battle. If Green Bay can dictate field position, it gives them a better chance of a dominant defensive performance.