This game means a lot for the Packers (9-6) and it could mean something for the Bears (11-4) as well. The New Orleans Saints play the Bucs and the Falcons play the Panthers, if both lose the Bears could get the #1 seed. The Bears would then have something to play for by 4:15 ET, when the face the Packers.
If they beat the Packers, with those scenarios takings place, they would get the #1 seed in the NFC.
The Packers will be playing hard in this one because if they win they are in the playoffs. The Packers would square off with the Eagles next weekend. The winner of the NFC West, either the Rams or the Seahawks would likely face the New Orleans Saints next weekend as well.
The Bears have been on a roll on offense. The team has went 7-1 since the bye week. They want to beat the Packers even if the 1 PM ET games don’t go their way. As much as the Bears should rest their starters because this game might mean nothing to them, I think they should really try hard to beat their rival Green Bay to keep them from making the playoffs.
Lovie Smith hasn’t said he will rest his starters. Smith really wants to beat the Packers, when he took the head coaching job in 2004, he said his goal was to beat the Green Bay Packers.
The Bears have a 26-15 record under Lovie Smith. Since 2004, they have won the division more than any other team — three times (compared to twice for the Packers, twice for the Vikings and no times for the Lions).
It has been reported that RB Kahlil Bell and TE Kellen Davis got increased practice reps this week and could come into the game in the second half. WR Earl Bennett re-aggravated his ankle last week against the Jets and will be out for the game today.
Resting your players and getting crushed by the Packers won’t help your confidence heading into the playoffs. The Bears have a bye week next week, so today will be either a bye week or another game that the Bears could use to get momentum heading into the postseason.
I would play to beat the Packers and kick them out of the postseason. I would play hard because you want to have confidence heading into the playoffs. I would want to show the league that we are for real. Sweeping the Packers, sweeping the division and winning 12 games on the season will show the NFL that the Bears are real.
At the same time you don’t want to risk injury to some of your best players, so if the Bears are getting demolished, I say rest your players before they get hurt.
In other news, RB Matt Forte needs 22 rushing yards to reach 1,000 yards on the season and WR Johnny Knox needs 40 receiving yards to become the first receiver to get 1,000 yards in a season, since WR Marty Booker.
If the Bears play their starters today, I say they win 24-17. If not the Packers will win 27-14.
We’ll see what happens, it’s up to Lovie Smith and company today. Either way it’s the Bears against Packers, it doesn’t get much better than that.
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