Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Green Bay Packers clinch the NFC North (only way to make the playoffs) with:
1. Win over Chicago Bears
Win and get in. Simple. We like simple. Simple is good. When the NFL decided to tailor the scheduling to feature divisional games in Week 17, it had this type of de facto title game in mind.
After missing seven games, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers will be back this week, coach Mike McCarthy announced on Thursday (per Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today). With Rodgers under center, the Packers should be able to move the ball and score enough on Chicago's porous defense.
Per the Packers' Twitter account, head coach Mike McCarthy said the following on Rodgers:
Amount of work has progressed. Reps have gone up. Aaron is seasoned pro. It's always the little things, fine details. Has looked like he's ready to play for a couple weeks. The moment is here.
The Packers' defense is a bit more trustworthy, which means tougher sledding for Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and the rest of the Bears offense.
If Eddie Lacy's sprained ankle keeps him sidelined, James Starks will adequately fill in for the Packers. This is essentially a coin-flip game, but even on the road, Green Bay wins a close one.
Green Bay will make the playoffs as NFC North champions, landing the No. 4 seed.