Playoffs, no playoffs, we all know what the angle is for this weekend’s Green Bay-Chicago game.
“I still own you.”
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are back in Soldier Field, the site of the quarterback’s memorable, emotional statement last season.
And, well, he’s not wrong. Rodgers is 23-5 against Chicago in his career and has thrown more touchdown passes (63) vs. the Bears than any other franchise.
So while the Packers are 4-8 and Chicago – which is expected to have back Justin Fields – 3-9, let’s forget about the records and remember the rivalry.
The question around 3 p.m. Sunday will be: Does Rodgers still own the Bears?
Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press: Packers 24, Bears 17. “Two losing teams with banged-up QBs takes the sizzle out of this rivalry.”
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times: Packers 24, Bears 20. “Chicago would be dumb to rush back QB Justin Fields. If Aaron Rodgers plays, he owns the Bears. If it’s Jordan Love, he looked really sharp in the loss to Philadelphia. Either way, Green Bay gets the edge.”
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: Packers 27, Bears 21. “The Packers' offense has quietly solved a lot of their issues over the last month, just in time for the defense to go from bad to worse. Christian Watson has given the team an explosive element and the offensive line has stabilized. That's great news against a defense that's dead last in EPA since trading Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, per PFF. I'm taking Green Bay pretty comfortably in this one, even if Justin Fields starts.”
The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote: Packers 23, Bears 20. “aron Rodgers (ribs) and Justin Fields (shoulder) both are questionable, but games are rarely off betting boards anymore, so gamblers must guess and pray. Pack on an 11-1 run at Soldier Field and Rodgers loves to remind Bears fans he 'owns' them. Except he owns nobody this year, so point spread flatters GB and upset shot is high. Taking Packers perhaps by habit, but Gee Bees’ bad run D better hope Fields’ injury limits his potent scrambling.”
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com: Packers 27, Bears 17. “Aaron Rodgers should be playing in this one, which is not a good thing for the Bears. He has owned them in his career. Rodgers is banged up, but Justin Fields is hurting for the Bears if he does play. Look for the Packers to go into Soldier Field and win a game against a team they have dominated in recent years.”
John Breech of CBSSports.com: Packers 19, Bears 16.
Jordan Dajani of CBSSports.com: Packers 24, Jets 17. “I understand there's questions concerning Rodgers' health, but it sounds like he's going to play. This is a rebound spot, as Rodgers gets to face a defense that has kept the Bears in the 'L' column for over a month.“
Tyler Sullivan of CBSSports.com: Eagles 33, Packers 23. “As I've been saying on CBS Sports HQ and wherever else the powers at be allow me to speak into a microphone or type into a post, the New York Jets were a stable quarterback away from being a weekly threat. Well, it does seem like they may have found one in Mike White. Do we expect him to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns each week? Of course not. But, if he can keep the offense efficient, the Jets have a defense capable of shutting top offenses down. Currently, New York ranks fourth in the NFL in fewest points per game allowed, third in yards per play allowed, and has the top-graded defense by Pro Football Focus. Sauce Gardner also leads the NFL in completion percentage allowed and pass breakups. Now that they have a quarterback capable of putting together consistent scoring drives, that should make the Jets a live dog heading into Minnesota. The defense matches up well with this Vikings offense and Minny's defense did just allow New England to put up 409 yards of total offense.”
Bill Bender of the Sporting News: Packers 28, Bears 26. “Who are the quarterbacks in this game? Justin Fields (shoulder) and Aaron Rodgers (ribs) are hurting. Will this be Nathan Peterman vs. Jordan Love instead? Either way, neither one of these teams can stop the run. Chicago has allowed 153.5 rushing yards the last two weeks. The Packers have been worse at 225.5 the last two weeks. It’s an ugly game and one the Bears could steal, but we’ll stick with the Packers in a close one.”
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News: Packers 23, Bears 20. “The Packers aren't sure if Aaron Rodgers can go with his thumb and rib injuries. the Bears are concerned about Justin Fields' left shoulder. There's a bye for both teams in Week 14. This very well could be Jordan Love vs. Trevor Siemian, which means it's running game vs. running game vs. two bad run defenses. Advantage Packers with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon over the Bears with David Montgomery.”
Carmen Vitali of FOXSports.com: Packers 23, Bears 21. “When pride and records are on the line, Rodgers shows up. Period. He's going to play because that's just the way the universe works, and despite Green Bay's struggles this season, Rodgers is going to beat the Bears. That's just what he does. He beats the Cowboys, too, and look at how that went a few weeks ago. The Packers looked like a legitimate contender against Dallas because for whatever reason, Rodgers can will himself and his team to a win when history suggests he will.”
Jim Derry of Nola.com: Packers 35, Bears 20.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Packers 24, Bears 23.
Don Brennan of the Toronto Sun: Packers 27, Bears 10.
Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette: Packers 30, Bears 17.
Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski: Packers.
Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith and Mike Florio: MDS – Packers 28, Bears 17; Florio – Packers 30, Bears 20.
David Fucillo of Draft Kings: Packers (low confidence).
Bleacher Report staff has an average score prediction of Packers 27, Bears 16.
ESPN’s Eric Moody and Seth Walder: Moody – Packers 24, Bears 14; Walder – Packers 30, Bears 17.
App eight analysts at CBSSports.com take the Packers.
Four of five analysts at SI.com are picking the Packers.
Ten of 12 SB Nation writers pick the Packers.
All three over at For the Win are going with the Packers.
All four writers at Athlon Sports think the Packers will win.
Five of six writers at USA Today predict a Packers victory.
Only five analysts at ESPN made a pick at the time of this writing with four picking the Packers.