Green Bay (12-3) at Chicago (8-7)
When: Sunday, January 3rd, 2021
Where: Soldier Field,
Time: 4:25 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Green Bay -5.5/50
It’s pretty simple for the Chicago Bears on Sunday – win and you’re in. The problem is, they have a monster standing in their way in the Green Bay Packers, who themselves have a lot to play for. For the 202nd time, the Packers and Bears will square off when they take to the Soldier Stadium field with everything laid out in front of them. Chicago can clinch an NFC playoff berth with a win on Sunday, but can still sneak in if the Arizona Cardinals lose to the Los Angeles Rams. It’s been and up and down season for the Bears, who opened with a 5-1 record before losing six straight. Now, they’re back in the hunt with a three-game winning streak behind the stellar play of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears have wins over Houston, Minnesota and Jacksonville and have scored at least 33 points in all of them. Green Bay can clinch a first-round bye and the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win or a tie on Sunday. The top seed in each conference this season are the only teams that get a first round bye, and of course, homefield advantage throughout the postseason. Since losing to the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 22, the Packers have reeled-off five-straight victories including a 40-14 thrashing of the Tennessee Titans last Sunday night. 37-year old Aaron Rodgers is on his way to winning the NFL MVP, but his main goal is winning a second Super Bowl ring.
Green Bay leads the all-time series 100-95-6 including an easy 41-25 victory on Nov. 29 that wasn’t even as close as the score indicated. Green Bay, which has won eight of the past 10 in this series and covered in six, led 41-10 entering the fourth quarter before taking their foot off the gas. Rodgers threw for four TDs to four different receivers, while Trubisky had three touchdowns and three turnovers. The Packers opened as 5.5-point favorites with a total of 50. The line has since moved to 4 with a total of 50.5 as of Saturday morning.
On the season, Rodgers has 4,059 passing yards, 44 touchdowns and just five interceptions. His 119.4 passer rating leads the league and is the second best of his storied career, trailing only a 122.5 passer rating that he finished with in 2011. Rodgers was spectacular Sunday night in the snow at Lambeau Field with four touchdown passes and just four incompletions against Tennessee. Davante Adams caught three of those TD throws along with 142 yards and could be in line for NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Adams has a league-best 17 TD catches, one shy of a franchise record. Green Bay would also earn the top seed with a loss as long as Seattle loses to San Francisco. While the Packers would lose a tiebreaker with the Seahawks, Green Bay would win one with just New Orleans. The Packers own a pretty solid defense as well, ranking seventh overall (332.5) and sixth against the pass (219.4).
Trubisky has brought this offense back to life and is a big reason the Bears have a shot at the postseason. Since Week 12, Trubisky has recorded a 99.3 passer rating with 1,243 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. Chicago will be a playoff team with a victory – either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed – which means a trip to a division champion next weekend. The only way the Bears miss the playoffs is if they lose and Arizona wins against the Rams, who will be without starting QB Jared Goff (broken thumb). David Montgomery has been helping out lately also and ran for 95 yards and a touchdown in the win over Jacksonville last week. Montgomery has rushed for 529 yards and six rushing scores since Week 12 and had 103 rushing yards on 11 carries to go with a receiving touchdown in the loss to Green Bay in November. Wideout Allen Robinson also had a nice game against the Packers, leading the Bears with 74 receiving yards and a couple of touchdowns on eight catches. The Bears are ninth in the league with 22.3 points allowed per game and eight with an opponents’ pass completion percentage of 63.3.
I simply don’t trust Trubisky in a game that matters versus a winning team. He’s been beating up on bad defenses the last three weeks and Green Bay’s is pretty solid. Rodgers owns the Bears and he should be able to help the Packers win this by at least a touchdown.
Pick: Packers -4
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