After suffering their first loss in a year, the Packers return to Lambeau Field on Sunday to take on their NFC North rival – the Chicago Bears. Fans across America will be interested to see if the Packers can bounce back on Christmas Day after being defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs 19-14 this past Sunday. Green Bay sits at an extremely comfortable 13-1, but they are still fighting for one thing: home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bears will also be fired up at Lambeau Field since they must win-out their season as well as hope for Detroit and Atlanta losses in order to be have a shot at a Wild Card spot.
Although the Packers are already NFC North Champions and still Super Bowl favorites, coach Mike McCarthy stated, “Everybody’s disappointed with the loss and the opportunity to have an undefeated season.” Some analysts are saying the loss to Kansas City might be a “good loss” for the Packers, as well as a wake-up call. The injuries the team is facing are an issue, and the struggles on offense seen against the Chiefs need to be addressed. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers posted season lows against the Chiefs and was sacked four times, which are both unusual for Green Bay. The Chiefs exposed the Packers offensive line this past Sunday and this may be due to the many injuries plaguing the Pack.
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is out for the Packers due to a knee injury, as well as left tackle Chad Clifton. Clifton was limited at practice this week, however he is not expected to play against the Bears on Sunday. Bulaga’s back-up Derek Sherrod is also out for the season with a broken leg, so it is clear the Packers are lacking in the depth department at this critical O-line position.
They recently signed tackle Herb Taylor in order to add some depth on the O-line. Also out for the Packers are defensive linemen Ryan Pickett (concussion) and Mike Neal, who suffered a shoulder injury against Kansas City. One piece of good news for Green Bay is their star running back James Starks is back practicing and is going to be able to be out on the field at Lambeau on Sunday.
The Bears are also having a tough go with their extensive injury list and lack of talent at the quarterback position. Ever since Jay Cutler was injured in their game against San Diego, things have spiraled downward for Chicago. Quarterback Caleb Hanie has proved to be inefficient with a 41.8 quarterback rating and 9 interceptions and just 3 touchdowns in the last four games, all of which the Bears have lost.
The Bears have been searching for answers at the quarterback position and they feel as though they found one: Josh McCown. McCown was the starting quarterback for Oakland in 2007 and has been out of the NFL for two years after playing for Arizona, Detroit, Carolina, and Oakland. Chicago recently signed the assistant high school football coach on November 23rd and are hoping he can get them a win on Sunday at Lambeau. He played against Seattle after Hanie was pulled for throwing three interceptions, and they ended up losing that game 38-14. So, we’ll see if McCown can pull off a miracle…
Green Bay may be vulnerable after their loss on Sunday, but the Bears need to overcome a slew of injuries if they are going to beat the Packers at home. Linebacker Lance Briggs is uncertain at this point for the game against Green Bay and defensive tackle Henry Melton is out. Wide receiver Devin Hester, running back Marion Barber, and tight end Kellen Davis are all going to be missing from the Bears offense at Lambeau Field on Sunday. With the Packers on a three game home winning streak against the Chicago Bears, the Bears had better be prepared for a battle on Christmas Day.