The Chicago Bears will play the Green Bay Packers at home for their Week 17 matchup. This game is extremely significant; if the Bears win, they make the playoffs, while a Packers win would give Green Bay the number one seed in the NFC. Not only that, but this game marks a rematch in one of the bitterest rivalries in sports after Chicago’s embarrassing loss to the Packers earlier in the season. Here are 3 Bears keys to the game for Week 17.
Disturb Aaron Rodgers
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been outstanding this season. He is the clear favorite for MVP, and with Patrick Mahomes sitting out this week, Rodgers might as well receive the award now.
Part of his stellar play is due to mistake-free football. He only has 5 interceptions this year, while throwing for 44 touchdowns. He has only been sacked 19 times, which ranks second least among quarterbacks to start 10 or more games.
Chicago’s defense played no different than the rest of the league against Rodgers in their previous matchup. They had 0 sacks, 0 takeaways, 0 quarterback hits and very few pressures. The Packers offensive line completely stifled their defense.
This has to change. Rodgers is rarely rattled, but Chicago can try to slow him down by giving him less time to throw and trying to trick him. This means that defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano needs to blitz, mix up coverages, et cetera. It is a difficult task, but to stop the Packers, Chicago must disturb Aaron Rodgers.
Key on Davante Adams
Wide receiver Davante Adams has been unstoppable this season. He ranks first in the NFL with 17 receiving touchdowns, fourth with 1328 receiving yards and third with 109 receptions.
Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense completely relies on Adams. He has over double the next closest Packers receiver in receiving yards, targets and receptions. Without him in the equation, the Packers offense is much less dynamic.
In the last matchup between the two teams, Chicago did an alright job of removing Adams from the equation. He only had 6 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Those statistics are relatively average for the star wide receiver. However, Aaron Rodgers had so much time to throw the football and find other open receivers that it did not matter too much.
Therefore, Chicago must successfully disturb Aaron Rodgers and limit Davante Adams. The two important tasks go hand in hand, as accomplishing only one of these keys is not enough to hinder Green Bay’s superior offense.
In Chicago’s last game against Green Bay, things started going south as soon as the Bears made their first major mistake. Mitch Trubisky threw a deep ball to Darnell Mooney in double coverage. Mooney had no chance, and as expected, the ball was intercepted by Darnell Savage. From there on out, Green Bay was in complete control and Chicago did not score again until garbage time.
A costly early mistake likely determines the outcome of the game, especially against a great team like the Packers. Therefore, the Bears cannot suffer from dumb mistakes again.
This means keeping Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky under control. He usually makes at least one unwise pass a game, such as the deep pass to Mooney in Week 12. Head Coach Matt Nagy and play caller Bill Lazor will need to adjust the offensive game plan so Chicago’s quarterback is not in a position to make those mistakes. Trubisky will also need to be on his game and play smart.
Green Bay is a team that takes advantage of mistakes, so playing smart football is crucial for Chicago. To not let this game get out of hand, the Bears offense will need to limit their mistakes against the Packers.
The Bears and the Packers will be putting all they have into this rivalry game, as there is a lot at stake for both teams. However, Green Bay’s best performance is simply better than Chicago’s best. Unless the Bears catch the Packers on an off night, it is unlikely that Chicago will win.
Packers 33 – Bears 24
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