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Packers chasing postseason berth as they attempt to beat Bears for 10th straight time

Packers Vikings Football
Posted at 2:50 PM, Jan 05, 2024

GREEN BAY (AP) — The Green Bay Packers can get a wild-card playoff berth if they close the regular season by beating the Chicago Bears for a 10th consecutive time. The Bears haven't defeated the Packers since 2018. The Packers have won their past two games and six of their past nine. The Bears have won two straight and five of their past seven. This game also gives Chicago QB Justin Fields a chance to make an impression on the Bears as they decide whether to take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.

CHICAGO (7-9) at GREEN BAY (8-8)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EST, CBS

OPENING LINE: Packers by 3, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Bears 8-6-2; Packers 8-8

SERIES RECORD: Packers lead 106-95-6

LAST MEETING: Packers beat Bears 38-20 in Chicago on Sept. 10, 2023.

LAST WEEK: Bears won 37-17 at home over Atlanta; Packers won 33-10 at Minnesota.

BEARS OFFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (2), PASS (27), SCORING (16)

BEARS DEFENSE: OVERALL (12), RUSH (1), RUSH (21), SCORING (20)

PACKERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (15), PASS (17), SCORING (11)

PACKERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (21), RUSH (28), RUSH (11), SCORING (14)

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Bears plus-2; Packers plus-1

BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Justin Fields. The Bears have a huge decision to make since they own the No. 1 pick in the draft because of a trade with league-worst Carolina: Stick with Fields or turn to one of the top available QBs in the draft? Fields threw for 268 yards with a touchdown pass and a rushing TD against the Falcons in what might have been his final home game with the Bears. He even had fans chanting “We want Fields!” As electrifying as Fields can be with his arm and legs, he still ranks 22nd in the NFL in passer rating and 29th in completion rate.

PACKERS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Aaron Jones. After scoring two touchdowns in a season-opening victory at Chicago, Jones struggled first with a hamstring injury and later with a knee injury that limited him for much of the season. He’s back now and has rushed for more than 120 yards in each of Green Bay’s past two games.

KEY MATCHUP: Packers QB Jordan Love vs. Bears pass defense. Love threw three touchdown passes in his first meeting with the Bears and has been particularly effective lately with 16 touchdown passes and only one interception over his past seven games. Chicago’s defense has improved since that season-opening matchup with Green Bay, thanks in part to the acquisition of DE Montez Sweat at the trade deadline.

KEY INJURIES: Bears CB Jaylon Johnson (shoulder), TE Cole Kmet (knee), LS Patrick Scales (foot) and WR Darnell Mooney (concussion protocol) were all nursing injuries. ... Packers WR Christian Watson (hamstring) has missed four straight games. Packers WR Dontayvion Wicks (chest) didn’t play against the Vikings.

SERIES NOTES: The Packers have beaten the Bears nine straight times. The Bears' most recent victory in this series was a 24-17 game at Soldier Field on Dec. 16, 2018. Green Bay is undefeated against the Bears since Matt LaFleur took over as the Packers’ coach for the 2019 season. … Love went 15 of 27 for 245 yards with three TDs and no INTs in the Packers’ season-opening victory over the Bears. Chicago QB Justin Fields went 24 of 37 for 216 yards with one TD and one INT, and he also rushed for 59 yards on nine carries in that game. ... Packers offensive line coach Luke Butkus is the nephew of the late Dick Butkus, who was a Hall of Fame linebacker for the Bears.

STATS AND STUFF: Chicago has won five of seven. ... The Bears had 432 yards against Atlanta after gaining 420 against Arizona. Their only other 400-yard games were in Weeks 4 and 5, when they put up 471 in a loss to Denver and 451 in a win at Washington. ... Sweat is tied for 10th in the NFL with a career-high 12 1/2 sacks — six since a trade from Washington. He leads both teams, making him the first player in NFL history to do that at any point in a season. ... Bears RB Khalil Herbert set season highs in the past two games, running for 124 yards last week after rushing for 112 in a win over Arizona. Herbert had been limited to 75 yards on 31 attempts over the previous four games. He missed five prior to that because of an ankle injury. ... Bears WR DJ Moore has 92 receptions for a career-high 1,300 yards. He had a personal-best 93 catches for Carolina in 2021. ... Chicago’s Cole Kmet is tied with Martellus Bennett for third all time among Bears tight ends with 208 receptions. Hall of Famer Mike Ditka (316) and Desmond Clark (242) hold the top two spots. ... Bears K Cairo Santos is tied with Paul Edinger for fourth on the franchise list with 110 field goals, behind Robbie Gould (276), Kevin Butler (243) and Bob Thomas (128). … The Packers can earn a wild-card playoff berth by beating the Bears. They still have a remote chance of reaching the playoffs with a loss, but they'd need plenty of help. ... Packers WRs Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed have eight TD catches each, putting them in a tie for eighth in the league in that category. … Reed has 10 total TDs, as he also scored twice on runs from scrimmage. The only other player to have at least eight TD catches and multiple TD runs this season is Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb. … Love’s 30 TD passes rank him third in the league, behind Dallas’ Dak Prescott (32) and San Francisco’s Brock Purdy (31). … Packers K Anders Carlson is 26 of 31 on field-goal attempts this season but has missed five extra points. … Packers CB/KR Keisean Nixon is averaging an NFL-leading 26.2 yards per kickoff return. … Packers WR Tucker Kraft has 18 catches for 229 yards over his past four games. He had only 10 receptions for 95 yards before this four-game stretch. … In the Vikings game, Green Bay WR Bo Melton became the first Packer to have 100-plus yards receiving and a TD catch in his first start since Jarrett Boykin in 2013. … Packers OLB Preston Smith has 2½ sacks over his past two games.

FANTASY TIP: Herbert has rushed for a touchdown as well as going over the century mark in each of his past two games. He has a decent chance of continuing that streak against Green Bay’s vulnerable run defense.