The Green Bay Packers have virtually no chance to make the playoffs in 2022, but their upcoming game against the Chicago Bears does come with a few rewards. First is bragging rights. A year after quarterback Aaron Rodgers screamed, “I still own you,” at Soldier Field, he has an opportunity to add an exclamation point to his dominance in Chicago by winning with a broken thumb and a rib injury. Second is the fact that the winner of this game will finish the week as the winningest franchise in NFL history. Currently, the Packers and Bears are tied at the top of the league with 786 franchise wins.
To break down this game, Acme Packing Company asked Patti Curl of Windy City Gridiron — our sister site covering the Bears — five questions about this matchup.
How much better are Bears fans feeling about the future of the team now that Justin Fields has taken a few steps forward this season?
Comparing to the low of our feelings about Fields (after the Week 3 Texans game) to the high (basically right before he got injured) it was the biggest surge in optimism I’ve seen from this fan base in years. Things are a little more subdued with the injury, with the nagging arguments that he’ll always be an injury risk because he runs and the general sense of dread Bears fans have about our quarterbacks. Still, there’s much more optimism and I think most fans are hopeful the Bears will be legitimate contenders either next year or 2024.
It seems like both teams are going to want to run the football as much as they can in this game. The first time around, David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert both earned explosive plays on the ground. Without Herbert (placed on IR in Week 10), does the ground game look different in Round 2?
Herbert is definitely missed, but the difference in the ground game will probably depend more on whether Fields plays and whether they continue calling designed QB runs. Those designed QB runs (started seriously in the Patriots game Week 7) forced defenses to account for Fields more seriously on running plays and helped open things up. If Fields, Montgomery, and Darrynton Evans are all involved, this can still be a dominant run offense.
Starting safety Eddie Jackson was placed on injured reserve recently. Rookies safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Kyler Gordon could miss the game due to injury. Who is going to step in as starters in the secondary and what’s the confidence level there?
As far as cornerback, the Bears #3 cornerback, Kindle Vildor is also limited with injury and Jaylon Johnson played coming off an injury last week but hopefully will be fully healthy Sunday. They’ll be replaced by rookie UDFA’s Josh Blackwell and Jaylon Jones. The safety spot will be manned by a competent veteran backup DeAndre Houston Carson and Elijah Hicks, a 7th round rookie in his second start.
So yeah, this could definitely be a get right situation for the Packers passing game.
How much does potentially losing the all-time wins title to the Packers in this game mean for Bears fans? Outside of beating former head coach Mike McCarthy at Lambeau Field, this could be the highlight of Green Bay’s season.
I think most of us assumed it would happen this season so we haven’t been holding on to it too tightly. It would definitely make a victory sweeter if we hold you off, but losing will probably result in a similar amount of devastating shame and hopelessness as a normal loss to the Packers.
The game opened up as a 2.5-point line with the Packers being favored on DraftKings, but has jumped up to 4.5-points. Who do you think covers this one?
It looks like Justin Fields might play. If he does, I think the Bears cover and have a Polar Bear in a climate crisis’ chance of pulling out a win. If Fields doesn’t start, the Packers shouldn’t have trouble stuffing that line in a box and shipping it!