The scenario for which team will win the NFC North and make it to the NFL Playoffs is probably the most simple out there right now. As the Green Bay Packers take on the Chicago Bears in week 17, the winner of the contest between the two rivals will be bound for the postseason while the other will go home.
However, coming out with a win isn’t that simple for the Packers. Obviously their defense is going to have to step it up a notch to try and stifle the Bears’ versatile attack, but what Green Bay having success really comes down to is how healthy this team is coming into this game.
Arguably the Packers’ two most important players in running back Eddie Lacy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers both are question marks in terms of if they’re going to play or not. Lacy is dealing with an injured ankle that will keep him out of practice until at least Thursday and Rodgers still hasn’t been cleared to play after a broken collarbone has kept him out for quite a while now.
Obviously getting Rodgers back would put the Packers in great position to win this game and make the postseason. Even if he’s slightly less than 100 percent, an 80 percent Rodgers is still more effective than Matt Flynn. Despite what Rodgers would bring, though, Lacy may be the most integral piece in this matchup.
In his rookie season, Lacy has been an absolute force that has had success against a bevy of defenses in the NFL. Going up against a Bears team that allows the most yards per game on the ground to their opponents, though, the Packers will have a chance to run the ball. Even though James Starks has been solid in backup work this season, he’s still not the same force that Lacy can be.
Ultimately, Green Bay has to depend on health for their postseason hopes to become a reality. Stranger things have happened than Flynn and Starks leading a team to a victory in a must-win game, but the task is going to be much easier if the Packers get their two big guns on the field for this game.