With a trip to the playoffs on the line, no one is giving the Chicago Bears a chance to defeat the Green Bay Packers in a pivotal Week 17 showdown. And while it’s true that the Packers should win this game, there’s a chance that the Bears can actually shock the world with a win.
But if that’s going to happen, this needs to be a collective effort — offense, defense, special teams, coaching — if Chicago is going to pull off the upset.
Here are four things the Bears need to do if they want to beat the Packers on Sunday.
Start fast, finish strong
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One of the things that doomed the Bears in this first meeting was that they failed to get off to a fast start, and the Packers ultimately pulled away in the second quarter. Chicago needs to find a rhythm early on offense and the defense needs to keep this Green Bay offense under control in the opening half. But, as we've seen with this Bears team before, it's not enough to get off to a strong start. They need to keep the foot on the pedal, especially as they've blown some leads this season. Chicago is going to need to play a near-perfect game to pull off the upset.
Pressure Aaron Rodgers
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This sounds simple enough, but nothing about facing Aaron Rodgers is simple. Something the Bears failed to do in the first meeting this season was get any sort of pressure on Rodgers, which gave him plenty of time to sit back in the pocket and carve up this Bears defense. While Rodgers is playing at an elite level, we've seen other teams frustrate him this season. Look no further than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Carolina Panthers, who brought pressure to disrupt his rhythm. If Chicago stands a chance, they need to get after Rodgers -- especially without cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Buster Skrine in the secondary.
Limit the mistakes
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When you're facing a team like the Packers that doesn't make many mistakes, you need to be near perfect. And that's what it's going to take for the Bears to pull off an upset against Green Bay. Chicago needs to limit the mistakes that plagued them in the last meeting -- turnovers and penalties that proved costly. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky faces his most important game as a Bear, and he's going to need to be at his best in this contest. After a three turnover performance in the last meeting, Trubisky needs to play smart. The whole team does really.
Run the ball
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The Bears defense isn't going to be able to completely shut down this Packers offense, which means Chicago's offense is going to need to do its part to keep this as close as possible. The Bears offense has been impressive over the last four weeks -- scoring 30-plus point in each of those games over that span -- and they're going to need another strong performance on Sunday. Which means they need to stick with what's worked for them, and that starts with running the football with David Montgomery. Don't try to be Green Bay -- who are a pass-heavy team. The Bears need to play their game, and running the football will certainly help with keeping Rodgers off the field.