GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As the Green Bay Packers (10-3) get set to host the rival Chicago Bears (7-6), it's time to get ready for kick with Dave Schroeder's 'Fast 5 Pack Facts.'
#1 Playoff implications: The Packers' goals are all on front of them, chasing NFC homefield advantage, a first-round bye, a division title, and playoff berth. They need help to attain their loftiest goals. They can't control that, but they can keep winning to maximize their seeding.
This week, a playoff berth is attainable with a Packers win over the Bears and a Rams loss at the Cowboys. But even if Green Bay doesn't get that help to get into the playoffs this week, a win coupled with a Rams win would eliminate the rival Bears from post-season consideration. Either way, there will be something to celebrate if the Packers win this week.
#2 Bears get a boost: Chicago defensive stalwart Akiem Hicks is returning to the lineup after being activated from Injured Reserve on Saturday. Hicks may take a back seat in the headlines to teammate Khalil Mack, but Hicks makes a huge difference for the Bears' defense. Chicago has given up only 13 points per game with Hicks on the field this year and 20 points per game without him.
#3 Identity issues: By Aaron Rodgers' own admission, the Packers have been unable to develop a solid #2 receiving threat alongside WR Davante Adams. But Rodgers doesn't care. His running backs, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, rank 2nd and 3rd on the team in catches and the team is managing wins without a modus operandi.
“I think it's a little late to say that we are going to establish our identity in the last three weeks,” Rodgers said. “It has been different guys every week and we have struggled with consistency. The only difference between where we are at now at 10-3, and being a dangerous force that can make a run deep into the playoffs and to the Super Bowl is that consistency. There have been times where we have thrown it all over the yard and looked great and there have been times when we haven't. There's been times where we have run the ball really efficiently and well, converting first downs, and third downs, and closed games out, and there have been times when we couldn't run the ball. So it is going to come down to consistency. I think we have the guys for sure.”
#4 Trubisky's confidence: Bears QB Mitch Tribusky struggled early this season but enters this showdown having thrown for 3 TD passes in each of the Bears' last 2 games. What's more, Trubisky is running more now. He has made himself into more of a dual threat. Trubisky had just 80 rushing yards all season before taking off for 63 yards last week with several carries on designed read-option runs. The Packers will have to keep him in the pocket Sunday.
#5 Chapter 200: Need we say more? The most storied rivalry in NFL history marks a milestone with Sunday's 200th meeting between the Packers and Bears. Green Bay holds the all-time edge 98-95-6.
Prediction: Packers 19, Bears 16
As always, tune in to Action 2 News at 5:30 and 10:00 p.m. for in depth postgame coverage. And then stay up late for Sunday Sports Night Cover 2 at 10:35 for full analysis. TE Robert Tonyan joins Chris Roth in studio this week.