The Chicago Bears (3-9) will face the Green Bay Packers (4-8) on Sunday, where Chicago is looking to get back in the win column.
They’ll have a better chance to do that with quarterback Justin Fields poised to make his return to the lineup. Fields missed last week’s game with a separated left shoulder, but a week of rest has certainly done him some good. So it looks like we’ll have — possibly for the last time — Justin Fields vs. Aaron Rodgers.
Before the game, we caught up with managing editor Zach Kruse of Packers Wire to get the scoop on the Bears’ Week 13 opponent.
Here are six questions with Packers Wire:
The Packers are sitting at 4-8, which is shocking considering many had them pegged as contenders. What’s gone wrong this season?
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Zach Kruse: Just about everything, honestly. The offense sharply regressed. The defense didn’t play up to expectations. The special teams still mostly stink. This is a bad situational football team, and it’s not a complementary team. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played at an MVP level, in large part because of all the pieces around him have struggled mightily. And there’s been a bunch of injuries, including at receiver, offensive line and now on defense (Rashan Gary).
It’s been a rough year for Aaron Rodgers. What’s gone wrong for him this season? And what is the outlook for his future in Green Bay?
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ZK: He has a broken thumb, and now a ribs injury, so injuries have played a part. But he’s also not playing up to his own standards, and everything around him has taken a step back. Combine an injured and aging quarterback with young and revolving pieces on an offense that lost one of the game’s difference-makers in Davante Adams, and you get this.
There’s been some discussion about whether Jordan Love should start the rest of the season. What were your thoughts on Love’s performance on Sunday night? And would you like to see more of him down the stretch?
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ZK: Love looked poised and confident over two series. It’s a small sample size, obviously, but it was still encouraging. Once the Packers are mathematically eliminated from the postseason, it should be Love time. The Packers need to know what they have, regardless of whether Aaron Rodgers wants to return in 2023 or not.
The Bears have the best run game in the NFL, and they’ll certainly lean on it with or without Justin Fields. How have the Packers fared against the run? Could this be another big game for David Montgomery?
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ZK: Not good. Not good at all. Justin Fields and David Montgomery could go off. The Eagles just rushed for 363 yards on this Packers defense. It was the result of poor execution up front and terrible tackling at all levels. The Bears should run the ball until the Packers prove they can stop it on Sunday.
Who is an under-the-radar player to watch on offense and defense for Green Bay?
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ZK: Running back A.J. Dillon appears to be picking up steam here late in the season. I’d expect him and Aaron Jones to get the ball plenty in the run game and passing game on Sunday. On defense, safety Rudy Ford has become a playmaker. He intercepted Dak Prescott twice and forced a big fumble last Sunday night. The Packers need takeaways, and Ford has provided.
What’s your score prediction?
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ZK: I could see either team winning, but I envision a lot of points scored. I don’t think either defense is in a great spot right now. I’ll take the Packers 30 and Bears 27, but reversing that score wouldn’t surprise me a bit. It might not mean much, but I think we’re in for an entertaining rivalry game from Soldier Field.