It doesn’t seem possible, but somehow the Green Bay Packers are playing the Chicago Bears for the division title today in Chicago. After going 2-4-1 the last seven weeks, the Packers find themselves just one win away from hosting a first round playoff game.
The biggest news of the week was obviously the announcement of the return of Aaron Rodgers. While the passing game has struggled at times the past seven weeks, the return of Rodgers will make the offense less predictable. The Packers were a run-first team for the first few games without Rodgers and inevitably saw a lot of seven and eight-man boxes. This will most-likely change as the Packers should have no issue moving the ball against an awful defense that is coming off of a 43-point loss to Philadelphia.
Randall Cobb is back after breaking his leg against the Ravens on October 13. It will be interesting to see how many snaps he plays but Cobb is always a major threat both running and catching the ball. Eddie Lacy, who tweaked his ankle against Pittsburg, is expected to play today. He should have no issue finding holes in a Bears defense that has allowed 11 100-yard rushers this season.
Unlike ESPN, I am not ready to say the Packers are a team that no one wants to play right now. I am hoping that I’m wrong and the Packers have a dominant performance. However, Aaron Rodgers missed seven games, which is clearly much different than missing one. There is a higher potential for timing issues with receivers and just overall rust. There are also several key players missing on defense. Missing Clay Matthews and Johnny Jolly could be huge today. The Packers’ lack of pass-rush has made it easy for opposing quarterbacks to pick apart the Packer secondary. There is concern today especially playing against the talented duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
Regardless of what NFL analysts think, people still have to consider the fact that this is a divisional matchup. It will be pretty surprising to see either team win in a blowout. That being said, I believe Rodgers’ return will not only improve the offense, but will assist in providing the defensive intensity the Packers need to slow down the Bears offense. I expect the Packers offensive balance to be too much for a weak Bears defense. Packers win 28-24.