The Packers are headed back to the playoffs, but they have bigger goals in mind. Green Bay held on to beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday 21-13, clinching the NFC North title and guaranteeing themselves a place in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns, all to James Jones, and the defense stepped up to seal the win as the Packers moved on, putting the Bears season in jeopardy. Once again it did not look pretty, but the final score was the only thing that mattered to the Packers and their fans.
The game began as a defensive struggle with the first 5 possessions ending in punts and the first quarter ending in a scoreless tie. The Packers had a chance to strike first, but the much maligned Mason Crosby missed a 43 yard field goal that would have put the Packers up early. The Bears took advantage of this error and Jay Cutler led a touchdown drive that ended in a 15 yard score to Brandon Marshall. The Packers quickly responded however, as Rodgers hit James Jones for his first of three scores on the day to cap off a 7 play, 89 yard drive. After consecutive punts, Jay Cutler was intercepted on the first play and it only took Rodgers 5 plays to find Jones again for another touchdown. The Packers struck again after halftime with Rodgers finding Jones for their final score, making it 21-7. The Bears then had three chances to capitalize on Packers errors, but could only manage 2 field goals after a fumble, muffed punt and missed field goal to make it 21-13. With less than 5 minutes to go, the Bears had a chance to tie the game but turned the ball over on downs, before getting it back with less than a minute left and failing to score as time ran out.
While the Packers will certainly be satisfied with their win, they no doubt have their sights set on bigger things, like a first round bye in the playoffs and possibly home field advantage. The latter is more unreasonable given how well the Falcons and 49ers have been playing, but a first round bye is something that Green Bay can now turn its attention to. If they do not achieve that goal, look to see Green Bay rest most of its starters for the last game, if not the last two. Stay tuned for more Packers news, and enjoy your week!