There’s every reason in the world for the Bears to be motivated to beat the Packers on Sunday.
All due respect to Custer, but this might be Cutler’s Last Stand. If the Packers win, they clinch the NFC North and a home playoff game. And even though the Bears might not be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose, they might as well be.
If the Bears can’t beat the Packers at Soldier Field, there’s little hope they’ll be able to do any damage in the playoffs, let alone qualify for the postseason.
The Bears’ backs will be against the wall. They’ll be looking make life miserable for their long-time rival.
The problem is, the Bears are near hopeless to get a victory, even with the home-field advantage. At least that’s what the statistics say.
Nearly every metric imaginable says the Packers are going to win.
The Bears can’t beat the them. Not right now. Not with their current coach and cast. Not with Brian Urlacher, Tim Jennings, Robbie Gould and Earl Bennett out for Sunday’s game. Not with defensive linemen Shea McClellin and Henry Melton doubtful to play. Not with that excuse for an offensive line.
The trends are undeniable.
First of all, the Packers are winners of seven of their last eight games, a record only bettered by the Broncos since turning a corner in Week 6. The Bears, meanwhile, are losers of four out of their last five.
Head to head, the Packers have won five consecutive games and seven out of the last eight against the team from the Windy City.
Currently, the Packers are on an 11-game winning streak against NFC North opponents, the longest divisional winning streak by any team in the NFL.
Including the playoffs, the Packers are 13-4 away from Lambeau Field over their last 17 games. Specifically at Soldier Field, the Packers have won two straight and three out of the last four.
Since Mike McCarthy became head coach, the Packers have a 21-9 record in December and January regular-season games, a .700 winning percentage that’s No. 4 in the league over that span.
Not only that, the Packers rank No. 4 in the NFL in December/January by scoring an average of 26.7 points per game and rank No. 6 in the NFL by allowing an average of 18.5 points per game.
Against the Bears in particular, the Packers defense has given up just 65 points to Chicago over the past five games, an average of only 13.0 points per contest.
All signs point to victory for a team gaining momentum against a team reeling from defeat. The road environment, the time of year, the division opponent; none of those appear to be giving the Packers much difficulty of late.
And that’s before looking at the personalities that have influenced the recent history of the NFL’s longest-running rivalry.
Mike McCarthy is 7-1 against Lovie Smith in their past eight meetings.
According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “In seven starts for Chicago against Green Bay, Cutler’s passer rating is 53.1.
“Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers has gone 8-2 against the Bears. Both defeats were in Monday night games; Rodgers is 5-0 in day games against Chicago.”
In the past three games against the Bears, Rodgers has completed 71 of 99 passes (71.9 percnet) for 799 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions, good for a passer rating of 117.4. Jermichael Finley has caught four of those touchdowns.
In the team’s previous meeting, a Week 2 23-10 Packers win, the Green Bay defense had a season-high seven sacks, 3.5 by Clay Matthews. Tramon Williams had two interceptions.
If there was any doubt that the Packers would win on Sunday, just look at the stats and look at the trends. They say the Packers can’t lose. Not to this coach, not to this quarterback, not to this team, not at this place, not at this time. Not now.