After what seemed like an eternity, Aaron Rodgers finally returns to the Packers and it couldn’t possibly be a bigger game. The franchise quarterback will be thrown right into the Week 17 drama as his squad faces a pivotal clash against their biggest rivals in a truly do-or-die scenario. Win and you’re in the post-season as the NFC North divisional winners. With the Lions miraculously choking the divisional crown away, it’s all come down to this on Sunday in Chicago. The Bears enter struggling, and when you consider how historically bad Jay Cutler has been against the Packers, there has to some doubt entering the minds of Bears’ fans. How will it all unfold in a pivotal NFC North clash? Read on below for a detailed game breakdown and an official selection for Sunday.
Packers at Bears Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers -3 (+100)
@ Chicago Bears +3 (-120)
Over 51 (-110)
Under 51 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers at Bears Pick:
This is a dream match-up for the NFL and neutral football fans everywhere. One of sport’s best rivalries, in a must-win match-up on the final day of the regular season. It promises to be a thrilling affair in the Windy City on Sunday, and with many of the key players back in the fold, drama should be at an all-time high in this historic match-up. Much fanfare has been made about Aaron Rodgers’ return to the Packers line-up for this week, however it should also be noted that he’ll get one of his favourite targets back in wide-out Randall Cobb. Cobb has been out since early in the year, and while his impact remains in doubt, Cobb is the type of explosive talent that can truly change a game.
One big concern for Green Bay entering this contest is the status of their rookie running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy has been battling a sprained ankle in recent weeks, and though he’s likely not at 100%, he will be in the Packers’ backfield on Sunday. Lacy has also stated that he’s played through this injury before and plans on doing so against Chicago’s porous run defense. The Bears’ biggest flaw has to be their run stopping unit. They simply can’t do it and have been especially brutal of late. In the past month, the Bears have conceded a remarkable 6.8 yards per carry. Eddie Lacy steamrolled the Bears in their first match-up and even on one leg he should be able to exploit such a pathetic defense. With the threat of Rodgers back, Chicago can now no longer just load the box and protect against their run-stopping deficiencies. Rodgers and Lacy together should give the Bears fits, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Green Bay cannot move the chains with ease. Chicago also has immense difficulty getting to the quarterback. Rodgers should have ample time and space to get into a throwing rhythm and carve the Bears’ secondary in his first game back.
On the other side of the ball, it remains to be seen if Jay Cutler can replicate what Josh McCown did to the Packers in the first meeting between these two teams. In that game, McCown was excellent and torched a porous Green Bay secondary. However, Cutler has historically been awful against Green Bay throwing 17 interceptions with just 8 touchdowns. Even though there’s no Clay Matthews for Green Bay, they’ve still be managing to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. A hurried and rushed Cutler cannot possibly bode well for Chicago’s post-season aspirations.
Jay Cutler is 1-7 all-time against Green Bay and hasn’t seemed like himself since his return from injury. His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers is far superior and is a big-game player who will truly relish this opportunity. While it should be a tight affair with a ton of points put up on the board, the ultimate lean is toward Green Bay. Rodgers is too good not to make a positive difference and you can definitely say he’s an upgrade over Matt Flynn, while I’m still not sure when comparing the current Jay Cutler form against Josh McCown. In games of such high magnitude, it’s hard to go against Rodgers and the Pack. Roll with Green Bay in a close match-up.
PICK = Packers -3 (+100)