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Why the Packers Will Beat Chicago and Why They Might Not

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Why the Packers Will Beat Chicago and Why They Might Not

The last time that the Green Bay Packers played at Soldier Field with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback, was during the 2016 season. That's when the Packers ran the table, winning their last six games to win the NFC North and eventually make the NFC title game.

That day, Rodgers and the Packers needed a long pass to Jordy Nelson and a last-second field goal to keep the Packers playoff hopes alive. Sunday in Chicago, Green Bay needs a win again to keep its playoff hopes alive as a loss could see the Packers mathematically eliminated. 

However, that team and this team are very different. That Green Bay team started 4-6 but after that, Aaron Rodgers turned it on. He started playing like an MVP and the Packers started rolling. They had a three-game winning streak heading into Chicago that year.

This time around, the Packers are fresh off a win but prior to that, Green Bay had lost three straight games, a losing streak that cost head coach Mike McCarthy his job. It also more than likely cost the Packers a shot at the playoffs.

Don't get me wrong, there is still some hope. We all saw the scenarios laid out this week and they all seem plausible. But maybe the most un-plausible thing is Green Bay going on the road and beating Chicago. Miami probably has a better shot of winning at Minnesota than Green Bay does in Chicago. 

For starters, the Packers are 0-6 on the road this season. Yes, there have been some close losses to good teams, however, if you are going to be a playoff team, you have to beat someone on the road eventually and the Packers just haven't been able to do that. 

Can their first road win come against the 9-4 Bears? A team that a just throttled the Vikings and Rams at Soldier Field recently. With Aaron Rodgers, anything is possible and here is a look at how the Packers could win, as well as why they might lose.

Why Green Bay Will Win

If the Packers find a way to win in Chicago, they will certainly need an epic performance from Rodgers. Something like the 20-for-30 for 286 yards and three touchdowns he put up in the first matchup against the Bears, when he pulled off a legendary comeback. 

Anything like that will do. 

Looking back though, it's almost hard to believe this has been the same season. The game which took place in the opening week seems like ages ago, but if the Packers are going to steal this one too, Rodgers has to be the best player on the field.

In order for that to happen though, he is going to need some help. 

The Packers found out that Bryan Bulaga will not be a go Sunday, leaving Jason Spriggs as the likely starter. The offensive line has been in shambles all season long and the bottom line is that the Packers need a new right tackle, in the draft or free agency, but Bulaga can't be counted on anymore. 

What that means for Sunday is that Khalil Mack is probably going to be lined up across from Bulaga's replacement all game long. That means the Packers will need to chip and send help as much as possible. Mack is good enough to ruin this game. He nearly did the first meeting and without Bulaga, Rodgers is even more exposed. 

One thing that could help slow down the pass rush is a running game. Green Bay didn't have Aaron Jones in the first meeting and the second-year back comes into the game averaging 5.6 yards per carry and 65 yards a game. 

If the Packers are going to win this game, Jones needs plenty of touches, both as a runner and a receiver. Jones has 26 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown this season, but his receiving skills have been criminally underused by the Packers just like his running abilities.

With the Bears pass rush coming in full force today, Jones should be given the ball plenty but he should get five or six passes out of the backfield too. Get the ball out of Rodgers' hands and get it into Jones. The kid can make plays and if he is involved in the game plan, the Packers might actually have a chance. 

The other thing is the defense needs to make some impact plays. Bashaud Breeland's pick-six last week was a game-changing play and to win this week, the Packers will need something like that. A forced fumble, an interception, anything that leads to a score or really good field position for the offense.  

Of course, none of those things will be easy, but protecting Rodgers, getting Jones going, forcing a key turnover or two and getting an MVP performance from Rodgers is the recipe for victory. Now, a look at the other side.

Why Green Bay Might Lose

There is that old saying in the NFL, you are what your record is. Bill Parcells used to say that and it's pretty true. And the truth is that the Packers are 5-7-1 heading into this game and 0-6 on the road. At this point, until they prove differently, that is what the Packers are.

Now, we all know that Green Bay very easily could have won games against the Rams, Patriots, Vikings, Seahawks and Cardinals. It's a cop-out to say a few plays and the season could have been different, but in the case of Green Bay, it's completely true.

If Mason Crosby hits the kick against Minnesota in the first game, Ty Montgomery doesn't fumble and Crosby hits the kick against Arizona to force overtime, the Packers might be 8-4. Even if they beat the Vikes and Cardinals, they would be 7-5 and control their own destiny in the NFC playoff race. 

With that in mind, why does Mason Crosby have a job? If the guy could make an important kick, Mike McCarthy would still have a job. Just saying, maybe he should have been shown the door the same day Mike was. After all, he has done more to ruin this season than any other single player on the roster. He has one job and he has failed at it miserably. And that doesn't even include the debacle in Detroit.

At any rate, I think today we will find out who the Packers really are. If they are the 5-7-1 team that their record says right now, this game will favor Chicago. The Bears have a dominating defense, the best defensive player in the league and an offense that is much better than people think. The Bears look to have found something in Mitch Trubisky. He does have 12 interceptions this year though, so he is still prone to young mistakes.

This seems like a game the Bears will want to win by running the football, getting solid QB play and dominating with their defense. It's a recipe that has worked well for them all season long and it could work again Sunday.

On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers is still on the other sideline. The same Aaron Rodgers that hasn't lost in Chicago since 2010. 

Either way, by the end of the game against the Bears, we will know if the Packers are a playoff contender or a 5-8-1 team looking forward to the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. 




Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Mack vs Sprigg's...oh my!

Puhlease tell me isn't so!

The TKstinator's picture

No Bulaga equals “ouch”.

Rossonero's picture

We'll win if play up tempo like we did in the 2nd half of the first meeting with the Bears.

Their front 4 was too much for us on opening night, and now with all the injuries to the offensive line, I don't see Rodgers holding onto the ball for 5-7 seconds.

We'll win if we win the turnover battle. Trubiskey is coming off a horrific game.

We'll win if Joe Philbin finds creative ways to involve Aaron Jones.

We'll win if we do well on 1st and 2nd down, which we haven't done this year. Too often, we've buried ourselves in 3rd and long situations. This Bears D is too good to do that to ourselves.

We'll lose if the Bears choose to shutdown Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, and then dare Rodgers to beat them with a bunch of rookie WRs and a TE with a broken finger.

Chris Peterson's picture

I would like to see that as well. No-huddle, up-tempo is the best way to slow down a pass rush. Get the ball out quick. Throw it to Cobb and Jones a bunch. Give Adams a bunch of short throws. Keep the chains moving, run some draws, get Jones his 20 touches. Bottom line the defense is going to have to make some plays too, help this team get a lead early.

mrtundra's picture

The only way to protect Rodgers against the Bears is to use quick rhythm passes, up tempo plays and run the ball, all game long. Don't give Bears' defenders time to get to Rodgers. If they hit Rodgers after the ball is out of his hands, take the penalty and move the chains, that way. We can do this. We've beaten these guys before.

Packers0808's picture

Only way to protect Rodgers with Spriggs out there is bench him!

Lare's picture

How about a couple trick plays, what have they got to lose?

Dzehren's picture

GB should do what the Patriots did to Pack earlier this year. Snap the ball immediately and go up tempo. Everyone know’s AROD snaps the ball with 1 second on time clock. Change it up today with immediate snap.

dobber's picture

They didn't last week. A good number of snaps around 5 seconds.

HankScorpio's picture

I don't mind Rodgers taking a long look after things are lined up. He can throw as many dummy or real audibles as he wants. If he wants to try a hard count, fine by me. Snap it with 1 second or 10 is not a big issue for me.

The thing that does matter to me is they are quicker to get the call made and break the huddle. That gives AR the option to play those pre-snap games or go quickly. And most importantly prevents them from burning time outs to save a delay of game.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Bears 24
Packers 13

Don't forget: Jerry Rice still fumbled..... via @YouTube

Lare's picture

The OL will have 4 holding penalties and Crosby will miss two more field goals- Packers 17-Bears 27.

John Galt's picture

National Felony League advertising revenues down 18% - thanks Roger Goodell.

The TKstinator's picture

That is really silly of Goodell to deliberately drive those revenues down.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Like the Packers, the NFL seems to find ways to mess things up. It isn't really on Goodell so much as it is on the rules or competition committee.

LeotisHarris's picture

A lot of people are saying Captain Touchback doesn't care about revenues now that he has his big contract. Insiders report he takes extra desserts without paying in the NFL cafeteria, and smokes in the restroom. Someone should hold him accountable.

Captain Touchback couldn't carry Ol' Mojo Tagliabue's briefcase!

The TKstinator's picture

Hear, hear!!

blacke00's picture

On an unrelated subject. What ever happened to Madison the 4 round pick? Why were the personal issues ?
Did the Packers ever make a followup statement on him?

Just curious.

Gort's picture

That is not unrelated. The OL has been a soup sandwich (really messy) all season and he surely would have been in the mix if he were here. Whatever his problems are have been a bigger secret than the Manhattan Project. Hopefully they can get resolved and he can be in camp next year.

Anyway as for today's game, I have no clue about which teams show up. Both teams could easily do stupid things and lose the game.

Any given Sunday! Go Pack Go!!

HankScorpio's picture

I looked around for further info on Madison a time or two recently. I never really found anything more about what kept him out or if he plans to report for 2019.

I'd like to know more. Obviously the OL is in need of help.

Lare's picture

One of Madison's best friends was Tyler Hilinski who was his QB at Washington State. Hilinski committed suicide last January, reportedly with a gun he took from Madison without his knowledge. An autopsy later determined that Hilinski had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) a degenerative brain disease associated with football.

4zone's picture

Well, gotta say, today could be our playoffs. Bears at home with their D against our Swiss Cheese OL. If Philbin pulls out a win today, it could be what lands him the HC gig for the next couple years. But I just don't see it.

Our only chance is to play fast and short and hopefully wear down their D with long sustained scoring drives. AR can do it, but will he and will Philbin go with that approach????

blacke00's picture

On an unrelated subject. What ever happened to Madison the 4 round pick? Why were the personal issues ?
Did the Packers ever make a followup statement on him?

Just curious.

flackcatcher's picture

See Gort above.

HankScorpio's picture

A key part of running the table in 2016 was Jared Cook establishing himself as a big-time contributor. Everything really fell in to place on offense when that happened.

I don't think jimmy Graham can provide that same level of threat anymore. But if he can prove me wrong, it would go a long way toward improving the chances of finishing 2018 strong. And help his chances of sticking around in 2019 for another $9 mil in cash.

CAG123's picture

I would love to see Cobb go 3-3 on heart ripping plays against the Bears in his likely last season in GB.

Doug Niemczynski's picture


KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

The Pack needs several offensive linemen and two outside linebackers. Madison hopefully is working out hard this whole time and plans on coming back next year. If so, then Pack could get by with just on OT (though another interior lineman would be nice). Tonyan is the TE answer I am pretty certain. Hopefully they play him extensively the remaining two games. Pick up a safety in the 4th round.

Just focus on OL and OLB with their first 4 or 5 selections. They do that and pick up a couple talented FA's and I think the Pack will be right back in the thick of things.

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