All of the trash talking that has led up to this week’s battle between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears has made this one of the most anticipated games of Week 15. This game should be a little closer than their Week 2 matchup was, but not that close.
With it being so late in the season, both teams have a lot to play for. With a victory, the Packers can clench the NFC North title for the second year in a row. As for the Bears, they need this win to not only stay in the hunt for the division title, but to also possibly keep a wildcard spot in the NFC.
Green Bay has definitely shown their dominance over Chicago, winning seven of the last nine regular season contests.
In this game, the Packers should continue to be superior on the offensive side of the ball, especially with the Bears being without linebacker Brian Urlacher and cornerback Tim Jennings. Even though Green Bay hasn’t displayed a solid running game all season, they still have had great success with just their passing game.
The Bears will still have quarterback Jay Cutler under center, even after being knocked out of last week’s game. Unfortunately, he’ll be without wide receiver Earl Bennett. However, he will still have the league’s second-leading receiver in Brandon Marshall in the mix. In order for Chicago to have a fighting chance on offense, they will have to find a way to get running back Matt Forte involved and have some control over the game clock. In addition, the Bears’ offensive line will have to block well on both pass and run plays.
Chicago won’t have to worry about Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, who was ruled out, but they will have to focus on outside linebacker Clay Matthews. In Week 2, Matthews had 3.5 sacks against the Bears’ offensive front, and I won’t be surprised if he wrecks more havoc on Chicago. Matthews has had some of his best games versus the Bears.
Overall, I think that the Bears will be fired up to play inspired football in front of their home crowd at Soldier Field. However, with key injuries and the recent history of this rivalry, I think that Chicago will buckle under the pressure. The Packers will be even more amped to play this game, knowing that they can win the division and still have a possibility to get a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Prediction: Packers 31, Bears 17
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