The Chicago Bears (1-5) and Green Bay Packers (3-2) enter their Thursday Night divisional showdown looking to turn things around after both suffered upsetting losses at home in Week 6.
Last Sunday is a day the Bears and Packers are trying to forget. Chicago blew a nine-point fourth quarter lead to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, Green Bay was easily dispatched by rookie sensation Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Bad memories aside, this is a must win for both teams as they look to remain relevant in the surprisingly competitive NFC.
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The Bears resemble a stable, albeit, limited team with Brian Hoyer taking the snaps. Hoyer doesn’t push the ball downfield and isn’t crisp in the redzone. Plus he doesn’t get much help from a sporadic defense and running game. Still, his professionalism is a welcome change from Jay Cutler. That maturity has kept Chicago’s team invested in the season even with their poor record, making them a sneaky contender in tonight’s match-up.
For Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, this game is do or die. Falling to 1-2 in the NFC North with road games at Chicago and Detroit and a home game against the vaunted Minnesota Vikings left to play is a tough road to travel. Worse yet, Rodgers has struggled to be the elite quarterback we’ve come to expect and has opened him up to criticisms both on and off the field. Without Eddie Lacy or James Starks in the backfield Rodgers needs to show up early and often for the Packers to win this game. Cheeseheads are just hoping it’s the Rodgers of old and not the one from the past two weeks.
Chicago would love to play spoiler tonight and beat Green Bay at Lambeau two years in a row, but don’t count on it. Rodgers needs to win this game to salvage the Packers season, and more importantly, his rapidly declining reputation. It’s a divisional game between two storied rivals so it’ll be interesting to watch it play out.
But the bottom line is the Bears want to win this game while the Packers need to win it. That pressure will push Green Bay over the edge and into the win column as Rodgers will resume his dominance over Chicago and get the Pack back on track.