Friday, December 27, 2013

NFC North Division Championship Game Preview: Green Bay Packers Vs. Chicago Bears

     The last time Aaron Rodgers played in a game this season was in Week 9 against the Chicago Bears (whom the Green Bay Packers play this weekend) when he went down with a collarbone injury. Chicago would go on to take advantage of an "Aaron Rodgersless" Packers and come out on top with a 27-20 win. Since going down with his injury, Green Bay has gone 2-5-1, but now with a playoff berth and Division Title in sight, Rodgers and the Packers look to seek redemption!

     If the return of Aaron Rodgers was not already encouraging enough for Green Bay, the Packers may see the return of Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to the lineup for its regular season finale against Chicago. Cobb has been on the Injured Reserve since October when he suffered a broken right tibia back in October.

     Packers Running Back Eddie Lacy (who is a front runner candidate for "Rookie of the Year") is projected to start, despite having an ankle injury. Green Bay though is prepared to have James Starks take more carries. One thing the Packers can take comfort in is knowing that Chicago has the worst Rush Defense in the league, allowing an average of 161.5 yards per game. Chicago's Run Defense was clearly exposed this past weekend against Philadelphia, giving up a total of 272 yards on the ground to the Eagles!

     Chicago will need to count on one of its big strengths, that coming from the receiving game with arguably the best Wide Receiver duo in the league, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. Marshall and Jeffrey have combined for 2,562 receiving yards (Marshall- 1,221, Jeffrey 1,341) and 18 Touchdown (TD) Receptions (Marshall 11, Jeffrey 7).

     Bears Running Back Matt Forte, who ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards (1,229) had an outstanding performance in the two teams earlier meeting this season with 24 carries going for 125 yards and a Rushing TD. Forte also provided additional help in the receiving game with 5 receptions for 54 yards.

     The Packers Defense will definitely have its hands full trying to contain Chicago and it's offensive trio (Marshall, Jeffrey, Forte) as they will have to do so without star linebacker Clay Matthews, who will miss the game with a broken thumb. Packers lineman, Ryan Pickett and Mike Neal are listed as probable, as well are linebackers Nick Perry and Brad Jones.

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