Finally, the time has come. Thanksgiving night is the game every Packers fan had circled on their schedule for more than one reason. The rival Bears are in town to continue the game's longest rivalry while Brett Favre will be honored at halftime. This game marks the first time in the rivalry's 191-game history that the two teams will meet on Thanksgiving. It goes without saying that emotions will be running high for everyone inside Lambeau Field.
With each team playing this past Sunday, it is a short week for preparation. The forecast is also calling for temperatures in the 30s with rain all but guaranteed. Like it or not, expect to see a heavy emphasis on the run game for both sides. If this is the case, it appears that Green Bay would have the upper hand.
The Packers made a huge statement last week limiting Adrian Peterson to just 45 yards on the ground while also getting Eddie Lacy going for the first time this year. Chicago possesses the 25th ranked rush defense, allowing better than 123 yards per game. They could have their hands full if Lacy continues to look like the 1,000-yard rusher he has been in each of the last two seasons.
Defensively, the Packers will see a much different Bears offense than the one they lined up against in Week 1 in Chicago. That game was head coach John Fox's debut with his new team, making a little rust understandable. Matt Forte showed no rust whatsoever and put up 141 yards and a score in the season opener. He has been out of the lineup for the last three games with a knee injury but is expected to return Thursday night. It will be interesting to see how much he is used, considering his habit of dominating the Packers.
While there are obviously other factors in play for this game (Jay Cutler's inability to find success in this rivalry for example), the run game will certainly be a focal point. Both teams will try to establish it by using their star backs, and any offensive consistency will be hard to find without it. This game could be far from pretty considering the bad weather and the short week, but a lot of pride is on the line. The Bears would love nothing more than to spoil Favre's long-awaited homecoming.