This game reminds me a bit of the Buffalo game in 2014. Everything the Packers were trying to accomplish was in front of them, yet they dropped a winnable game in Buffalo against a team that didn’t make a playoffs. It was late in the year, the weather was cold, and the Packers lost, screwing up their long-term plans. The team had to travel to Seattle for the NFC Championship game and ultimately lost.
This season, the stakes are much higher. Very few folks believed QB Aaron Rodgers when he felt like the Packers could run the table, I’m not even sure that I did. The simple fact is that it appears that that’s exactly what has to happen for Green Bay to qualify for the postseason. If they don’t make the postseason it means mediocrity and a mediocre draft position, something that makes a non-playoff season hurt even more.
Green Bay likely needs to win this game in Chicago to keep the playoff dream alive, and they should. They’re the better team, and at 3-10, Chicago has less than nothing to play for. In fact, the Bears would be better off losing this game and improving their draft position. If the front office doesn’t feel like Cutler is the answer at QB, getting a chance at Trubisky or Watson is a big deal.
There is no way the Packers overlook the Vikings in week 16 or the Lions to close out the season and win the division. This is the “trap” game. This is the game that they should win that they might not.
Why the Packers will win: They’re the better team and they have the better motivation. Rodgers might be hurt but the immobile version of Rodgers actually leads a more efficient Packers offense. The ball comes out on time and into the hands of receivers who make big plays.
Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson don’t get the credit they deserve, but they’re one of the best receiving tandems in the league. Teams often shade coverage towards Nelson, which has led to Adams being one of the best receivers in football over the last 6 weeks. When teams start to shade towards Adams, you best believe Nelson will be able to beat cornerbacks one on one.
Green Bay debuted their quick passing offense against the Bears during the first meeting (then inexplicably went away from it), and it was ultimately effective.
The defense is getting healthy, and although Matt Barkley has been much better than anyone could have ever expected, the Packers D is still an awful matchup for the Bears offense.
Why the Bears will win: they won’t! (surprise)
Bottom line: Yes, this is a trap game. Green Bay should beat Chicago without much trouble, but they could theoretically be looking forward to their next two games. With that said, Green Bay doesn’t have the safety net of still (probably) winning the division that they did in 2014. If they lose this game to Chicago the season is over. Everything that has had the fans excited for the last three weeks goes away. I said it last week and I’ll say it again. You’ve gotta believe. Packers 31 Bears 13