It’s the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears on Sunday for the NFC North title. Which of these storied NFL franchises will capture the crown? Dan Salem and Todd Salem tackle this topic head on in part one of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
Two of the NFL’s most storied franchises will face off on Sunday for the NFC North division crown. Da’ Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers in what is probably the most awesome week 17 matchup in a long while. You can take your Cowboys vs Eagles and stuff it in a stocking with coal. Give me the Bears and Packers please and I’ll rest easy as a happy NFL fan.
As for the victor and the winner of the NFC North, this game will come down to one lone matchup. Can the weak Chicago defense stop the powerhouse running game of the Packers? In another season, on a different field we’d be debating Aaron Rodgers vs Jay Cutler. Not this season, not this year.
We have yet to find out if Rodgers will return for the season finale, but its a null factor when it comes to the Packers’ offense at this point. Eddie Lacy is a beast and the team is ranked 7th in rushing offense. Their defense has been just tough enough and Matt Flynn has been passable, an impressive combination that has held the Rodgers-less team together down the stretch. They’ve won and lost a lot of close games this season and have a tie on their record as the icing on the cake. Picking against the Packers would be easy, if it weren’t for the Bears main weakness.
Chicago is ranked 32nd in the league in run defense. They stink and did I mention the Packers are very, very good in this arena? This matchup will be the downfall of the Chicago Bears. Sure, Jay Cutler has returned and played pretty well. Sure, the Bears are ranked 5th in pass offense. But its late December and the weather is cold up North. Factor in momentum, or Chicago’s lack of momentum after that drubbing by the Eagles, and this game is Green Bay’s to lose.
We aren’t in store for a blowout, but the Packers are winning this thing comfortably. I’ve got Green Bay 28, Chicago 17 with time of possession way in favor of the Packers. Green Bay will be the champion of the NFC North!
Isn’t it amazing we’re talking about Green Bay in this conversation at all? Rodgers went down early in the Packers’ week nine game. He hasn’t played a snap since then even though he seems constantly in a state of “questionable.” The team has gone 2-5-1 (counting that week nine game) in his absence. The Pack would have run away with this division Indianapolis-style if Rodgers hadn’t gone done. Alas…
By the way, you know the only team in the NFC North with a positive point differential is Detroit? It’s true.
But here we are nevertheless; Green Bay versus Chicago. And it is kind of amazing Chicago is in this position as well. With Jay Cutler having missed five games, it would have been plausible to see the Bears collapse like the Lions did. Instead, Josh McCown came in and played admirably, even inciting some quarterback controversy prior to this week 17 matchup.
I agree that the biggest advantage in this game appears to be in Green Bay’s favor. Their rushing attack (hell, ANYONE’s rushing attack) against the Bears rush defense is a huge mismatch. However, the numbers may not be doing Chicago justice. Linebacker Lance Briggs just returned from injury. He took week 16 to get re-acclimated. Perhaps this coming game he will be back to his old self and prop up a listless rush defense; perhaps.
Also, the Packers’ defense is nothing to brag about either. While Chicago sits at 29th in total defense, Green Bay comes in at 26th. The Bears actually have a much better pass defense than GB according to the numbers, likely buoyed by the fact that all any opponent wants to do against them is run…but still.
So where does that leave us? Unless the weather bogs the game down, this should be a high-scoring affair. If that is strictly what this game will come down to, give me Chicago all the way. Their skill position players are just better.
Even if we call Eddie Lacy versus Matt Forte a wash (Forte is the much better receiver), the Bears have the better offensive weapons. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery form the best one-two punch of wide receivers in the NFL. Combined with tight end Martellus Bennett, Chicago has one of the biggest and most formidable passing attacks in the league. And then we get to the quarterback position.
(TV ANALYST-SPEAK ALERT!) “Say what you will about Jay Cutler,” but he is a very good NFL quarterback. The same cannot be said for Green Bay’s Matt Flynn. Although I grant you that Flynn has somehow transformed from atrocious to mediocre whenever he puts on a Packers uniform, mediocre isn’t going to cut it on Sunday.
Unless Aaron Rodgers returns for this game, I like Chicago all the way.