Dave Schroeder’s ‘Fast 5 Pack Facts’: Packers at Bears
Get in the know and ready to go with the ‘Fast Facts’
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As the Green Bay Packers (12-3) prepare to wrap up the regular season with a visit to the Chicago Bears (8-7), it’s time to get in the know and ready to go with Dave Schroeder’s ‘Fast 5 Pack Facts.’
#1 The Stakes: If the Packers win? They secure the NFC’s #1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Bears win? They clinch a playoff berth. Both teams could accomplish their goals by getting help elsewhere, but the teams want to take care of their own business. That said (in case you were wondering), If the Seahawks lose today, the Packers get the #1 seed even if they lose.
The #1 seed is even more important this season as only 1 team in each conference will get a bye week. That change was part of the NFL’s expanded playoff format allowing 7 teams per conference to make the postseason. Keep in mind, no team has made it to the Super Bowl since 2012 without having a playoff bye.
#2 Home Away From Home: Starting with the 2010 NFC Championship Game, the Packers have won in 9 of their last 10 trips to Soldier Field. Green Bay has dominated the Bears. But Chicago is feeling better about things with Mitch Trubisky right now. The Bears have scored 140 points in their last 4 games. But Trubisky has only averaged 16.8 ppg in 6 career starts against Green Bay. His best day on the scoreboard? It was actually the 41-25 Packers win last month. But that contest was 41-10 before Trubisky led the Bears to garbage-time points.
#3 David Bakhtiari: I didn’t want to start with this topic, so as not to get you down in the dumps right off that bat. But we have to address the elephant in the room. The Packers All-Pro left tackle, David Bakhtiari, the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history, suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice Thursday.
Green Bay must find a way to achieve its Super Bowl goals with yet another line change. When Bakhtiari missed 3 games earlier this year, Billy Turner moved to left tackle and played well. But with Khalil Mack on the other side this week (and RT Rick Wagner trying to overcome his own knee injury), perhaps Green Bay will kick Turner out to right tackle and move versatile Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins to left tackle.
#4 Adams’ Record Chase: With 109 catches, 17 TD, and 1,328 yards so far, WR Davante Adams is within striking range of a few single-season franchise records., Adams needs just 3 catches to tie Sterling Sharpe’s receptions record. And Adams needs just 1 score to tie Sharpe’s receiving TD mark. And If Adams has a monster game, he has an outside chance of catching Jordy Nelson’s single-season yardage record. But Adams is 191 yards away from that. Adams would probably already have all 3 of those franchise records if he had not missed 2.5 games this year with a hamstring strain.
#5 Hicks & Dillon: A big difference in this week’s Packers-Bears matchup will be addition that both teams are making from the first meeting. And those two will go head-to-head. The Bears will have stalwart run-stuffer Akiem Hicks back in the lineup. Green Bay ran for more than 180 yards on 39 carries when Hicks missed the first matchup. But on the Packers’ side, RB A.J. Dillon should be a big factor after being unleashed with 24 carries last week in his first extensive action of the season. A power back in the winter is a powerful weapon to have.
Prediction: Packers 31, Bears 17
As always, tune in to Sunday Sports Night Cover 2 at 10:35 for the best postgame breakdown in the business. We will also have highlights and reports on Action 2 News at 10:00.
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