Packers vs. Bears: Takeaways from Green Bay's 33-28 Win over Chicago

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIDecember 30, 2013

Packers vs. Bears: Takeaways from Green Bay's 33-28 Win over Chicago

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    The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears in one of the most exciting games we've seen all year.

    With the Bears leading 28-27 late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Aaron Rodgers found receiver Randall Cobb in the end zone to give Green Bay a five-point lead. That touchdown was the second touchdown reception for Cobb on the day.

    However, the Bears still had time to get into the end zone in the final 30 seconds of the game. Unfortunately, quarterback Jay Cutler threw an interception in the end zone to put this one in the books.

    Green Bay will now get ready for the NFC playoffs with the NFC North crown in hand. Let's take a look at a handful of other takeaways from Green Bay's 33-28 win over Chicago.


    *All statistics courtesy of

The Packers Need More of James Starks

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    As good as running back Eddie Lacy has been for the Green Bay Packers this year, his teammate James Starks has been extremely impressive, too.

    Starks finished the game with 88 rushing yards on just 11 carries. Lacy, on the other hand, had only 66 yards on 21 carries. Sure, Lacy has been hampered with an ankle injury the past few weeks, but Starks' patience and burst has resulted in some big plays for the Packers.

    Now we aren't saying that Starks should replace Lacy in the starting lineup, but giving him an extra handful of carries during a game is only going to help this offense.

Jordy Nelson Loves That Aaron Rodgers Is Healthy

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    When quarterback Aaron Rodgers was injured, wide receiver Jordy Nelson was clearly a different receiver than he was on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

    For starters, Nelson received a ridiculous 16 targets from Rodgers this game. The next closest receiver in targets was James Jones, but he only received seven.

    He also finished the day with 10 receptions for a whopping 161 yards. That total was more than half of Rodgers' passing yards in the game and over 100 yards more than any other receiver.

    It seemed like people forgot how good Nelson was when Rodgers was injured, but he reminded everyone on Sunday with a huge performance.

It's Great to Have Randall Cobb Back

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    How much did the Green Bay Packers offense miss wide receiver Randall Cobb? 

    Cobb broke his leg in Week 6 and returned this week. Despite only playing limited snaps, Cobb still managed to record 55 yards and two touchdowns. What's even more impressive is that he accomplished all of that by only recording two receptions.

    Head coach Mike McCarthy said that Cobb, "showed how he can impact a game," according to Paul Imig of Fox Sports. With Cobb back in the lineup, this offense of the Green Bay Packers will be one of the most explosive in the league.

    He likely won't see 100 percent of the snaps in next week's game, but he's the type of player who can completely change the game in one play.

This Team Still Can't Stop the Run

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    If there is one part of this Green Bay Packers team that should give everyone the willies, it's the run defense.

    This week they were absolutely torched by Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte. He finished the game with 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

    Forte also added another 47 yards and a touchdown as a receiver out of the backfield. Simply put, the Packers didn't have any type of answer to slow down Forte.

    The biggest issue with the run defense is that they're eventually going to need to make some stops if the Packers want to make a deep run in the playoffs. The bad news is that this defense hasn't proved it can stop a running back in so long that it's hard to picture the team figuring it out in just a week.

    Look for next week's game to ultimately be decided on how good (or bad) the run defense for Green Bay is.

Morgan Burnett Made a Play When It Mattered Most

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    It hasn't been the best of seasons for safety Morgan Burnett. In fact, it's been a pretty terrible season for Burnett.

    However, when the Green Bay Packers needed him most, Burnett stepped up. With time running down in the fourth quarter, the Chicago Bears had quarterback Jay Cutler launch a ball in the end zone.

    For a second it looked like wide receiver Alshon Jeffery would have a chance on the ball. However, Burnett came across the field, leapt and tipped the ball away.

    It was easily his biggest play of a season that's been rather unimpressive.

Special Teams Woes Might Kill This Team

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    Seriously, how bad is the special teams coverage unit?

    First, it gave up 127 kick return yards to Devin Hester on just five returns. The biggest one was a 39-yard return that instantly gave the Chicago Bears great field position.

    Hester also had one punt return that went for a whopping 49 yards. In case you can't count, that's 176 return yards for Hester and the Bears.

    What is ultimately so worrisome about the special teams and their issues is that all those big returns give the opposing team an advantage in the field-position battle. The last thing the Green Bay Packers need in the playoffs is a short field for an offense to work with.

    This unit needs to get it together quick, or it might just end up killing this team.

Aaron Rodgers Makes All the Difference

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    It didn't take long for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to prove just how valuable he is to the Green Bay Packers.

    On the team's first offensive drive, he took the Packers down the field with ease before throwing an interception in the end zone. Rodgers finished the game with an impressive 318 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

    Outside linebacker Mike Neal had this to say about that final touchdown throw according to Tyler Dunne of The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "The confidence is there. I didn't even get off the bench. I knew he was going to make it." 

    What was so impressive about Rodgers is that he hasn't played since Week 9. Gregg Rosenthal of wrote this about Rodgers' play on Sunday:

    Rodgers looked like himself in his first game back from a broken collarbone. The Packers signal-caller was intercepted twice to start the game, but they came on mistakes by his wide receivers. Green Bay racked up 473 yards of offense and immediately looks like one of the better units in the league again. 

    With Rodgers on the field, the Packers become an extremely dangerous team heading into the playoffs.

Bring on the San Francisco 49ers

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    With this win, the Green Bay Packers sealed the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs. Their opponent in the Wild Card Round will be the San Francisco 49ers.

    These two teams met in the playoffs last year with the 49ers handling the Packers pretty easily. However, this is a different Green Bay team this year. They had to overcome so much just to make the playoffs that it's hard to imagine the Packers playing as flat as they did last year.

    If there is one thing that's absolutely certain about this matchup, it's that it's going to be an extremely exciting game. The Packers have been in nail-biters the past three weeks, and there is no reason to expect that to change at Lambeau Field next weekend.