Green Bay (5-9) at Chicago (8-6)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Mon Dec 22, 2008
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

For the Chicago Bears to keep their playoff hopes alive, they must avoid a repeat of their last performance against the Green Bay Packers.

However, even a victory Monday night at Soldier Field and another in the season finale might not be enough for Chicago to make the postseason.

The Bears (8-6) trail Minnesota by a game in the NFC North, and the Vikings need only one win in their remaining two contests to clinch the division title. Chicago also sits a game back of Dallas, Tampa Bay and Atlanta, and a half-game behind Philadelphia in the wild-card race.

Another loss to the rival Packers (5-9) will likely shut the door on any postseason opportunity, and the memory of a 37-3 drubbing Nov. 16 at Lambeau Field remains fresh.

“They did whup on us pretty good the last time we met,” wide receiver Devin Hester said on the team’s official Web site. “We still have it in the back of our heads. We have a long week to prepare - a couple extra days - and we’ll prepare for them, and hopefully this week come out ready to play them.”

Chicago looked ill-prepared in that Nov. 16 game, giving up 30 unanswered points, a season-high 200 rushing yards and another 227 to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Bears quarterback Kyle Orton also fumbled a snap that Jason Hunter returned for a 54-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and was pulled for Rex Grossman.

Since that game, the teams have gone in differing directions with the Bears winning three of their last four and the Packers losing four straight.

Green Bay has given up fourth-quarter leads in its last three losses, including a 20-16 defeat last week at Jacksonville that eliminated the Packers from playoff contention.

They led 13-7 at halftime and 16-14 with 5:35 left, but the Jaguars scored 13 points in the final quarter, including the winning touchdown with 1:56 remaining.

The previous week, Houston drove 75 yards in the final 1:49 for a winning field goal. In a 35-31 loss Nov. 30 to Carolina, the Panthers scored with 1:30 remaining for the win.

Green Bay has allowed 79 points in the last three games, with 38 coming in the fourth quarter.

The Bears, meanwhile, used a 60-yard drive in the final 3:03 to set up a tying field goal and send their Dec. 11 game against New Orleans into overtime. After Robbie Gould kicked a 28-yarder to end regulation, he made another from 35 yards for a 27-24 win.

Orton completed 8 of 11 passes on the tying drive, including seven in a row, but also threw two interceptions, giving him six in the past three contests. He also didn’t throw a TD pass after having five in his previous three games.

In last month’s game against Green Bay, Orton went 13-for-26 for 133 yards.

While the Bears kept their slim playoff hopes alive, the Packers fell into discord during the latest defeat.

After Jermichael Finley lined up on the wrong side before a botched third-and-goal play late in the first half, Rodgers became visibly annoyed with the tight end on the sidelines.

Before a play early in the third quarter, linebacker Brady Poppinga and defensive back Al Harris gestured at one another when a wide receiver stood uncovered at the line of scrimmage. Following an ensuing 35-yard completion, the two exchanged words, causing coordinator Bob Sanders and linebackers coach Winston Moss to gather the defense for an impromptu sideline meeting.

“When you see what you saw today, you know how bad it is,” cornerback Charles Woodson said. “When you have two players on the field arguing with each other, you have them on the sideline arguing with each other, then you know it’s bad.”

After missing part of last week’s game with a sore toe, Bears running back Matt Forte is expected to be ready. Forte needs 69 yards to break Anthony Thomas’ rookie rushing record of 1,183 set in 2001.

Forte’s counterpart with the Packers, Ryan Grant, ran for a season-high 145 yards on 25 attempts last month against the Bears, but his play has been up and down since.

After rushing for 67 yards at New Orleans on Nov. 24, Grant had 39 against Carolina. He followed with 104 versus Houston before a 56-yard performance on 21 carries last week.

Grant has rushed for 100 or more yards in each of his two starts against the Bears.

The Chicago game launched a streak of five straight by Rodgers with 200 or more yards, and he has thrown 10 touchdowns in that time. However, he has also thrown an interception in five consecutive games, totaling seven in that span.

Chicago has won six of the past nine meetings with the Packers, splitting the last four at Soldier Field.

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