If the Packers win, the Bears’ season is over. Simple and to the point.
I’m juiced because I always want there to be something on the line. Earlier in the season it was a share of first place, and Green Bay was the team that needed the victory far more. Now with the near miracle of four underdogs winning yesterday to keep the Bears' slim hopes alive, tonight’s game means more to Chicago than it does to their neighbors to the north.
The anticipation for this one is building because Green Bay isn’t as bad as their disappointing 5-9 record indicates. They have dropped the last four games, and lost the last three with a margin only as wide as four points. The Pack has been creative, but they’ve been finding ways to hand the game away.
The Bears on the other hand have been the less disappointing team this season, to many fans' surprise. Now anyone in Chicago will complain about the record and offense (I hear it every day…), but a realist would tell you that the fact that there is an outside shot for the team to make it to the postseason is incredible.
The Bears changed quarterbacks, moved their dynamic returner into essentially a rookie wide receiver, have not played to their billing as a great defense, and still managed to win eight games so far, with two left in the season. Chicago has played well.
The most intriguing thing tonight is going to be whether or not Aaron Rodgers comes out with the fire and intensity he had against da Bears at Lambeau over a month ago when the playoff chances seemed great. Will Ryan Grant run as hard as he did, racking up 145 yards en route to that 37-3 victory? I’m guessing, and hoping, they look at this as an opportunity to make a real impact this season and play hard tonight.
You know Chicago is coming to play tonight. The season is on the line, for crying out loud, I hope they come to play for my friends’ sanity's sake. More realistically though, they have a very good chance to make the playoffs if they win tonight. Minnesota plays the New York Giants next Sunday, Chicago plays Houston. If the Vikings lose, and Chicago wins, the North is once again won by either Green Bay or Chicago. If the Vikings win, the Bears still have a shot at the wild card slot with some help.
This game means something serious again, and it makes it great for both Packer and Bears fans, and heck, even Vikings fans are a little happy. Everyone wins before kickoff on this matchup, but once the game is over, there are going to be fans somewhere upset with the outcome. Here’s hoping it’s Chicagoans' tears freezing in the frigid weather off Lake Shore drive.