Game Scout: Packers at Bears

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) at Chicago Bears (8-7)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at Soldier Field, Chicago - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
*Keys to the game: QB Aaron Rodgers missed nearly two months since fracturing his collarbone Nov. 4 against the Bears, but coach Mike McCarthy claims Rodgers won't be rusty and has been throwing full strength for more than three weeks. That leaves the health of RB Eddie Lacy (ankle) as the Packers' primary worry. He has 1,061 rushing yards since Oct. 1 and rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown against Chicago last month. The Bears can't miss their opportunity for game-changing plays defensively. Chicago has four takeaways in the past five games. LB Clay Matthews (thumb) is out for the Packers, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers might be forced to blitz to avoid being methodically picked apart by QB Jay Cutler and his super-sized receiving corps. RB Matt Forte didn't get much work last week in a blowout loss at Philadelphia. He keyed the Bears' attack with 179 total yards in the Week 9 meeting.
*Matchup to watch - Packers TE Andrew Quarless vs. Bears LB Lance Briggs: Chicago will be supercharged to stop Lacy, but Quarless, who had a breakout game with five catches in the first meeting, has 13 receptions in the past three games. Linebackers are passing him off to deep safeties and given the Bears' horrible tackling at that level, Quarless is a candidate to break loose.
*Player spotlight - Packers WR-RS Randall Cobb: Not only is Rodgers back, Cobb practiced at full speed late in the week. He played in just five games before a severe leg injury at Baltimore on Oct. 13 put him on short-term injured reserve. Cobb is arguably the top playmaker on the roster. He could play a bit part this week and has a "real chance" to be involved with a special package of plays, McCarthy said.
*Fast facts: The Packers have won seven of the past nine meetings. ... The Bears are allowing an average of 29.7 points (30th in NFL) and 161.5 rushing yards (32nd) per game.
The Bears had breakdowns in every imaginable area at Philadelphia and should rebound behind Jay Cutler, but his woeful history against the Packers (1-8) and the return of QB Aaron Rodgers tips the scales in Green Bay's favor.
*Our pick: Bears 27-24

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