CHICAGO (CBS) — Can the Bears become the third team in 50 years to make the playoffs after having a six-game losing streak? Here are Three Things to Watch as the Bears host the Packers in a highly-anticipated Week 17 showdown Sunday afternoon.
Slowing Down Aaron Rodgers
Can the Bears slow down Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers torched the Bears defense for four touchdowns in a blowout in the first matchup just five weeks ago, one of his six, four-touchdown games this season. Bears Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano seemed to go with a passive approach in that game, blitzing very little, and often rushing only three players. Look for that to change Sunday. Akiem Hicks didn’t play the first matchup so his presence should help. But the Bears must put Rodgers on the turf. Rodgers only two games with a quarterback rating under 100 this season are also the only two games he’s been sacked more than twice. The Packers will also be without injured all-pro offensive tackle David Bakhtiari.
Run David Run
One way to slow down Rodgers is to keep that Packers offense of the field. Their D has been a little better of late but they’re 19th against the run according to Football Outsiders. Look for offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to call for plenty of David Montgomery runs Sunday. Montgomery has rumbled for 529 yards and six touchdowns the last five weeks and is all the way up to fifth in the NFL in rushing. A heavy dose of Montgomery would also make life easier on Trubisky as well.
Can Eddie Jackson make a play? Jackson has been known as a dynamic playmaker in his three plus years in Chicago. That was especially true his first two seasons when he amazingly had five return touchdowns. But he has no interceptions this season, partially because a couple were taken away by tough penalties. He was especially invisible in their first matchup with the Packers. Jackson admitted this week he hasn’t been making the plays but claims he’ll be full throttle from start to finish. The Bears will likely need him to make a big play or two to upset the Packers and clinch a playoff spot.
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