So the NFC North isn’t at stake, but the Bears are pushing to secure a first-round bye, something they covet. They’d love nothing more than to keep the Pack out of the postseason in this heated rivalry. If Green Bay wins, it secures the final NFC wild card spot. The Packers are rolling with Aaron Rodgers back, and the Bears’ offense is coming off a dismantling of the Jets. The Packers are still kicking themselves for giving away the first meeting. Lambeau Field will be the stage for the tilt between the (11-4) Chicago Bears and the (9-6) Green Bay Packers, kickoff slated for 4:15 PM EST. No two teams have met on the gridiron more than the Packers and Bears. Sunday they face off for the 181st time. The Packers swept the season series in ’09 for the first time since 2003. That ’03 sweep capped a seven-game win streak and an 18-2 stretch dating back to 1994. On only four occasions in NFL history has a team enjoyed a better 20-game stretch against a single foe. Chicago has swept the season series twice in the last five years (2005, ’07), their only series sweeps since 1991.
Chicago will have plenty to play for Sunday as well with a bye and potentially home-field advantage on the line. The Bears travels to this week 17 contest with a record of 11-4 on the season. The club puts up 22 points and 293 yards per game. Chicago has clinched the number two seed in the NFC conference following the Eagles loss on Tuesday night. The Bears are a long shot for home field advantage throughout the playoffs as a #1 seed. It will require a Falcons loss to the Panthers with a Saints loss to the Buccaneers and a Bears victory against the Packers for Chicago to take the #1 seed. The Bears are on the road for the eighth time this season where they stand at 6-1. Their lone road loss came in a 17-3 defeat at the New York Giants way back on October 3rd as a +4 point underdog. The team is coming off a 38-34 victory against the New York Jets last week as a -3 point home favorite. Chicago put up 322 yards and converted on 3 of 9 on third down. The team ran the ball 27 times for 120 yards for a 4 ½ yards per rush average. The Bears got in the end zone in just 1 of 3 tries inside the red zone. The club turned it over once and got two back from their AFC east opponent. Quarterback Jay Cutler completed 13 of 25 passes for 215 yards with three touchdowns and one pick. Running back Matt Forte had a solid game against a good run defense as the veteran ran the ball 19 times for 113 yards and a score. Forte contributed with 4 catches out of the backfield for 56 yards. Wide out Johnny Knox led the team with 4 pass receptions for 92 yards and two scores. Devin Hester had 3 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Bears QB Jay Cutler comes into Sunday’s game with a 90.6 passer rating on the season, which would be a career high, and he has had an especially productive stretch of late. Over the past five games, Cutler has completed 74-of-122 passes (60.7 percent) for 1,062 yards, 11 TDs and just three INTs. His 104.6 passer rating over that span ranks No. 4 in the league, and he has posted a 100-plus passer rating in four of those contests. Cutler posted an 84.2 rating in his first nine games this season (missed one due to injury). He has a 21-0 career record when his passer rating is 100-plus. Devin Hester is in a sick, sick zone right now and he is the NFL’s most lethal threat as of this moment.
Green Bay will be back on its home field for the second straight week after playing four of its previous five contests on the road. The Packers have won 10 of their last 11 regular-season games and four straight at Lambeau Field, and their 10-1 mark over that span ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only New England (10-0). With a win Sunday against the Bears, the Packers could become only the second team in the NFL to register at least four wins in their division each of the past five seasons. New England (4-1 in 2010) is the only other team in the league to post four-plus wins in its division each year from 2006-10 with no other teams besides Green Bay in position to do so heading into Week 17. QB Aaron Rodgers is a combined 114-of-166 for 1,167 yards with six TDs and three INTs (93.1 rating) in five career games against the Bears.WR Donald Driver’s regular-season career-long catch was an 85-yard TD reception at Chicago (Champaign) on Oct. 7, 2002, on Monday Night Football. Driver needs just 14 yards receiving to put him over 1,000 against three teams (Minnesota and Detroit are the others). Green Bay has had one of the more efficient red-zone offenses in the league over the past two seasons, finishing in the top 10 in the NFL in 2008 and 2009, and with one game remaining the Packers are in position to finish in the top 10 once again in the category. Through Week 16, the Packers have scored touchdowns on 31 of 51 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 60.8 percent touchdown rate is tied for No. 7 in the NFL, and the 31 TDs rank tied for No. 4. John Kuhn, primarily at fullback during his first three seasons in Green Bay, has been given more opportunities to carry the ball at RB. Against Detroit in Week 4, Kuhn posted 34 of his 39 rushing yards on the final series, as the Packers ran out the final 6:32 in the 28-26 win. He has a career-best 281 rushing yards and four rushing TDs on 80 carries (3.5 avg.) this season. Entering this season, Kuhn had 46 rushing yards on 18 carries in four NFL seasons.
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Bears vs Packers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears +9.5
@ Green Bay Packers -9.5
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Bears vs Packers Predictions for Week 17:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – I believe the play here is with the UNDER and a number of factors have lead me to this. There is a lot riding on this game so it will be a playoff atmosphere in Wisconsin this Sunday afternoon. The Packers absolutely exploded against the G-Men last week, but that was a New York club that was still hung-over from their fourth quarter collapse against the Eagles the week previous. The Bears posses a very capable, sometimes dominant, defensive unit and I believe they will contain Aaron Rodgers and the rest of his crew quite well. The secret to the Bears success on the road this season is maintaining low scoring affairs, which affords them the opportunity to stay in every game. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Chicago’s last 6 games on the road, while keeping the home opponents to a season average of 19.3 points. The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Chicago’s last 5 games when playing Green Bay and has gone UNDER in 4 of Chicago’s last 6 games when playing at Lambeau Field. Look for the Packers to climb to an early lead and reek havoc on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. We will consider the UNDER in Lambeau this Sunday.
Spread Prediction – The Packers need a win to secure a wildcard position so Mike McCarthy will be dialing up anything and everything to solidify his teams postseason aspirations. And if years past are any inclination to his coaching morals then we might witness a strong and concerted effort to build an early lead in hopes of resting some of the starters late in the game. Green Bay is 46-26 ATS in the last 4 weeks of the regular season since 1992, while Chicago is 9-26 ATS in road games in the last 4 weeks of the regular season since 1992. Minus the flop in Motown two weeks previously, the Packers have looked quite strong this half of the season and they will be looking to avenge their loss at Soldier Field earlier in the season. Green Bay is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games at home and they have beaten their opponents at home by an average of 10.5 points since 2000. Chicago is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Green Bay and Jay Cutler has a career quarterback rating of 63.7 against the men from Wisconsin. To make matters worse, Chicago is 3-5-1 ATS in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Green Bay. We will side with the Packers and the points in this one, I look for Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings to have huge numbers in the first half and I also look for Mike McCarthy to rest some of his starter in the latter part of the game if he can.