Packers Vs. Bears: Five Things to Look For In Sunday's Colossal Matchup
The recurring theme for the Packers just won't seem to end.
The Green Bay Packers play host to the Chicago Bears in a late Sunday afternoon matchup that will most likely decide both of their playoff hopes.
A win, and the green and gold burst onto the scene as the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs. A loss, however, essentially wipes out any hope for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in returning to the promised land.
With their lives on the line, what will the Packers do to ensure victory against the hated rivals from the Windy City?
Aaron Rodgers Extending Critical Plays
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continues to show his resilience when under pressure, both with big-play passing perfection, and with his abilities outside the pocket.
As Green Bay's No. 2 leading rusher this season with 335 yards on the ground, Rodgers will be more than ready for Chicago's pass rush capabilities, and could potentially become a game-changing figure come Sunday.
Rodgers has proven himself worthy of escaping the pocket against some of the best defenses in the league so far this season, and the Bears aren't going to change that.
Green Bay's Running Game?
Although Packers running back Brandon Jackson was yet again held to minimal yardage on the ground against the Giants, the addition of Green Bay's best-kept secret John Kuhn will significantly reduce the pressure on Jackson.
Yes, the Bears do indeed attain the league's third-best run defense (allowing 92.1 yards per game), however Packers coach Mike McCarthy will look to establish the run game early on.
If the ground game can get things rolling, the Packers could be in for a huge day.
As previously noted, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has verified his mistake-prone regressions with untimely interceptions when under pressure.
Be that as it may, Cutler has put up fairly impressive numbers in Chicago's previous two games, throwing for a combined 409 yards, six touchdowns, and just two interceptions in the last two weeks.
However, Cutler's lingering memories of the Packers' barbaric defense is bound to show this Sunday, and will inevitably cost Chicago a few turnovers.'
With Charles Woodson and Pro Bowl snub Tramon Willams cloaking Chicago's receivers, a pick-six could be on it's way for the Lambeau faithful.
When Green Bay decides to blitz Cutler, look for Clay Matthews and the Packers defense to rack up more than enough turnovers to result in a victory.
Devin Hester Will Not Be Receiving The Football
There's no telling what Bears' all-purpose wide receiver Devin Hester can do when given big-play opportunities.
Averaging a league-best 17.1 yards per punt return this season, Hester has proven time and time again just how significant he can be in the outcome of a critical football game.
Addition of Green Bay's special teams troubles as of late, and Hester could be looking at extending his NFL record 14 kick/punt returns for a touchdown.
So the question remains: how can Green Bay counteract Hester's punt return threat?
The answer is simple, yet extremely intricate: don't punt him the football.
A Green Bay Victory For The Ages
It's been an absolutely magical season for the Packers; that much has been apparent.
Despite the massive injury list, Green Bay still remains in conversation as one of the most consistent, explosive teams in the entire league...and with good reason.
After missing what basically amounted to two key games, Aaron Rodgers returned to action last Sunday in stunning fashion, setting career highs in yards (404) and touchdowns (4) in a single game...against one of the league's best pass defenses to boot.
With the Packers now firing on all cylinders once again, it's hard to picture Mike McCarthy's crew failing to reach the playoffs with a victory on Sunday.
Prediction: Green Bay 31, Chicago 23