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LAKE FOREST Chicago Bears T-Shirts , Ill. — Clinch the NFC North championship and beat a heated rival to do it? The Chicago Bears couldn’t have asked for a sweeter scenario.That’s exactly the opportunity they’re staring at when they host Aaron Rodgers and the fading Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.“It would be very exciting,” quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “We know this is a big week for us, and a lot comes with it.”More Packers coverage from FOX Sports WisconsinBucks’ Wes Matthews loves Wisconsin, is a Vikings fanPreview: Packers look to slow Vikings’ revitalized run gameTop Tweets: Yelich thanks fans for support after season-ending injuryAmos sparks rebuilt Packers defense in debutPackers to be tested again by familiar foe in Zimmer, VikingsWith six wins in the past seven games, the division championship and a playoff spot are just about in hand.A win over the Packers (5-7-1) would clinch the North for the Bears (9-4). So would a loss by Minnesota to Miami. And ties by both the Bears and the Vikings would do the trick, too.Even if they don’t clinch the division, they could still secure a playoff spot on Sunday. In that case, a tie against Green Bay — or a tie or loss by Washington against Jacksonville — would send Chicago to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 team won the NFC North.Of course, with a victory comes this added bonus: beating Green Bay. It would also give the Bears a measure of revenge for that season-opening gut punch at Lambeau Field, when Rodgers got carted off the field with a left knee injury and came back to lead the Packers from 20 down to a 24-23 victory.“It’s a special moment in my career,” Rodgers said. “It is the Bears, and the injury I was dealing with and the pain and 20-0 and coming back and winning that game. It seems a long time ago, standing here in Week 15, but that was a good moment for us. It’s a better moment when you parlay those into big-time winning seasons and championship runs, but it was a special moment for sure.”The teams’ fortunes sure have changed since.The Bears have emerged as a force in the NFC in their first season under coach Matt Nagy after four straight last-place finishes. The Packers fired Mike McCarthy in his 13th season two weeks ago and made offensive coordinator Joe Philbin the interim head coach, hoping to jolt a team in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight year.The Packers won his debut , beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-20. The Bears beat the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams 15-6 last week , with their defense squashing one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses.Here are some things to know with Chicago on the verge of securing a playoff spot and Green Bay’s hopes fading:STREAK VS. STRENGTHIt’s a case of a streak vs. strength when Rodgers faces Chicago’s turnover-happy defense. The Bears are first in the NFL in turnover margin at plus-13. Rodgers hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 4, when his pass over the middle for Jimmy Graham was deflected twice before being intercepted by Bills safety Jordan Poyer on second-and-4 from the Packers 49. It’s the only interception this season for Rodgers. Since then he’s had 368 straight attempts without an interception to set an NFL record.“Yeah, you know hopefully it stays that way,” Philbin said as he knocked on a wooden podium for good luck. The Packers are plus-2 in turnover margin, tied for 14th in the league.7View Gallery Gallery:Upon Further Review: Packers vs. FalconsBenny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports | Benny SieuROAD WOESWith an 0-6 road record and eight straight losses dating to last season, the Packers sure have experienced difficulties away from Lambeau Field. That’s something they hope to change against Chicago.The Packers have won nine of the past 10 meetings overall. They also have an eight-game winning streak at Soldier Field, counting the postseason.COMFORT AT HOMEWhile the Packers have struggled on the road, the Bears are 6-1 at Soldier Field.That gives them their highest win total at home since going 6-2 in 2008. And if they beat Green Bay, the Bears would finish 7-1 at home for the first time since 2005.Also, Nagy’s nine victories are the most by a coach in his first season with the Bears since Paddy Driscoll led the 1956 team to a 9-2-1 mark.TURNOVER TIMESpeaking of turnovers, the Packers’ defense has been hit or miss when it comes to takeaways. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland accounted for both of Green Bay’s takeaways last week with an interception return for a touchdown and fumble recovery, though the latter came on a botched shotgun snap. Still, the win over the Falcons ended a two-week stretch without a takeaway.OFFENSIVE OUTPUTThe Bears would certainly welcome a better showing from Trubisky. He struggled against Los Angeles after missing back-to-back games because of a right shoulder injury, with a season-high three interceptions and a 33.3 rating that was his lowest of the year.One positive for the Bears’ offense: Jordan Howard running for a season-high 101 yards.12View Gallery Gallery:PHOTOS: Packers vs. FalconsJeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports | Jeff Hanisch—GREEN BAY (5-7-1) at CHICAGO (9-4)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FoxOPENING LINE — Bears by 6RECORD VS. SPREAD — Packers 5-7-1, Bears 9-4SERIES RECORD — Packers lead 97-94-6LAST MEETING — Packers beat Bears 24-23, Sept. 9LAST WEEK — Packers beat Falcons 34-20; Bears beat Rams 15-6AP PRO32 RANKING — Packers No. 19 Chicago Bears Hoodie , Bears No. 6PACKERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (11), RUSH (19), PASS (10)PACKERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (16), RUSH (24), PASS (8)BEARS OFFENSE — OVERALL (22t), RUSH (13), PASS (23)BEARS DEFENSE — OVERALL (3), RUSH (2), PASS (10)STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Aaron Rodgers led Packers from 20 points down to 24-23 victory in opener at Lambeau Field after suffering knee injury. Randall Cobb scored go-ahead 75-yard TD on catch-run in closing minutes. … Green Bay is playing second game since offensive coordinator Joe Philbin replaced fired coach Mike McCarthy on interim basis. … Packers are 0-6 on road, have dropped eight straight away from Lambeau Field. … Green Bay has won nine of past 10 games overall against Chicago. Packers also have eight-game win streak at Soldier Field, counting postseason. … Rodgers has thrown 368 straight passes without interception to set NFL record. … WR Davante Adams is tied for NFL lead with 12 TD catches. … Cobb had nine catches for 142 yards and TD in opener. … Bears could clinch first playoff appearance since 2010 team won NFC North. … Chicago would capture division with win over Packers or loss by Minnesota to Miami. Ties by both Bears and Vikings would also secure first place. … Bears could clinch playoff spot if they don’t win division with tie, or loss or tie by Washington against Jacksonville. … With 6-1 mark, Bears have matched their highest home win total since going 6-2 in 2008. With win, Chicago would finish 7-1 at Soldier Field for first time since 2005. … Matt Nagy’s nine wins are most by coach in first season with Bears since Paddy Driscoll led the 1956 team to 9-2-1 mark. … Bears lead NFL in turnover differential (plus 13), interceptions (25). … RB Jordan Howard ran for season-high 101 yards last week. … Bears’ CB Kyle Fuller tied for NFL lead with Miami’s Xavien Howard with seven interceptions. … LB Khalil Mack leads Bears with 10 sacks, tied for NFL lead with six forced fumbles. … Tarik Cohen leads NFL with 360 punt return yards, ranks second among NFL RBs with 679 yards receiving. … Fantasy tip: Rodgers has haunted Bears throughout career Tarik Cohen Color Rush Jersey , with 45 touchdown passes, nine interceptions and 108.3 rating in 20 regular-season games against them. The Bears head into their final home game of the 2018 regular season at 9-4. That’s in major part due to their 15-6 victory over one of the NFL’s best teams in the Los Angeles Rams. It wasn’t exactly a thriller in terms of offensive production or the best played game for either team on Sunday night. Yet, when it mattered the most in the second half, the Bears put their foot on the gas pedal and pulled out a huge win.The return of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky didn’t exactly go as most had expected or hoped. Despite that, the Bears were able to overcome a poor offensive performance to position themselves within one game of clinching a playoff spot. Which could come as soon as this coming weekend against the Packers.Regardless of how you cut it, the Bears proved most doubters wrong and most importantly, showed that defense still wins championships. This was as big of a statement win as anyone could have asked for. Maybe more. Last night showed the Bears can beat anybody. This close to the playoffs and you have a good confidence booster.While it wasn’t a sexy performance for some, there was plenty to like. Especially on one side of the ball.Vic Fangio and the Bears defenseQuinn Harris-USA TODAY SportsHeading into last night’s game, the headline was simple. It was the best against the best. Top offense versus a top defense. Much like two Thursdays ago when the Dallas Cowboys shocked the NFL and beat the Saints, defense won out again on Sunday night. The Bears defense utterly dominated a usually high-flying Rams offense. So much so that the Rams had less than 100 yards total offense halfway through the third quarter.To put things into perspective, this was a Los Angeles offense that came into the game averaging well over 33 points per game and was top five in total yardage. Yet, the Bears defense came out and completely shut it down, giving up just 214 total yards and six whole points.On top of that, the Bears had four interceptions, another forced fumble, and three sacks on quarterback Jared Goff. All of this while holding running back Todd Gurley to 28 rushing yards on 11 carries (2.5 yards-per-carry): his lowest in a game since 2015.What’s more impressive is that the Rams had been held to under 30 points just twice under Sean McVay, before last night’s game. Their lowest season point total was 23. The Bears quashed that notion completely.Don’t get me wrong. A good offense usually beats a good defense, especially in cold weather. But I don’t think there’s anyone who expected the Bears to shut down the Rams that well. This was more than containing one of the best offensive units in the league. This was about thoroughly dominating a team with no answers for a full 60 minutes. For as good as the Bears defense has been this season , I’m not sure we’ve seen them play as complete of a game as they did last night. Hats off to this entire unit, including its coaching staff. That was a defensive performance for the ages. Jordan HowardMike DiNovo-USA TODAY SportsFor the first time this season, Howard finally went over 100 yards rushing.While it was long over due, it couldn’t have come at a better time with Trubisky barely eclipsing 100 yards passing while throwing three interceptions.As a team, the Bears rushed for 194 yards. It was Howard who led the charge with 101 yards of his own. In a game where offensive production was hard to come by, controlling the clock was a big key to a victory and that’s exactly what Howard was able to do.He averaged 5.3 yards per carry on the night, including a few big runs. None more sizable than than his 21 yarder on an outside zone run late.It was not only Howard’s best performance of the year, but also one that the Bears hope can get him sparked for the final three regular season games before they head into the playoffs. Another cold weather situation likely awaits the Bears there in an early January home playoff game.Honorable Mention: James DanielsPhoto by Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesWhile Howard may have been the best offensive player on the field, the rookie Daniels played a big role in not only keeping Trubisky relatively clean all night, but in Howard’s performance.Daniels was a big part of the reason that stud defensive tackle Aaron Donald failed to record a sack and only had one pressure. On top of that, Daniels’ athleticism showed multiple times in the run games as he was consistently able to get down hill and to the second level.It’s amazing to think that during the preseason and heading into Week 1, the rookie was deemed “not ready” to start. 13 weeks later, he’s shutting down one of, if not the NFL’s best defensive player. It’s been a steady rise for Daniels over the past month or so. Last night’s performance was easily the best of his young career. That’s what makes him this week’s honorable mention.

posted Oct-19-2019 @ 01:33 by linchao