Bears look to lock up playoff berth while Packers aim for home field advantage

LEFT: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau Field on December 27, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) RIGHT: Mitchell Trubisky #10 of t

When the Green Bay Packers throttled the Chicago Bears 41-25 at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving weekend, it seemed pretty clear that the two were heading on different paths. Chicago had lost its fifth straight games and Matt Nagy appeared ready for the unemployment line. Green Bay was well on its way to the NFC North title and Aaron Rodgers’ MVP campaign was well underway.

Little could anyone have suspected that their final meeting of the season on Sunday at Soldier Field (4:25 p.m., FOX) could have so much importance.

The Bears (8-7) have won three straight games and will make the NFC playoffs with a victory over its old rival. The Packers (12-3) did win the North title and have won five straight, but still needs to beat Chicago in order to secure home field advantage through the NFC playoffs. A loss could see them sink into the wild card round and project out a road trip to either New Orleans or Seattle.

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The sports betting information

On Sportsbook, the Packers are 4 ½ point favorites and -225 on the money line. (A $225 bet will yield a $100 win.) The Bears are +190 on the money line. (A $100 bet will yield a $190 winning.) The over/under number is 52.

Green Bay is 9-6 against the spread this year while Chicago is 8-7.

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The history

This will be the 200th regular season meeting between the Bears and Packers with Green Bay holding a 99-94-6 overall edge. (The two teams have also met twice in the playoffs, splitting the two contests.) Since Rodgers took over for Brett Favre as Packers quarterback in 2008, Green Bay has owned the series. The Packers are 20-6 in the rivalry since 2008 – including the 2010 NFC Championship game win in Chicago- and have won eight of the last nine games between the two.

The storylines to watch

Chicago’s path to the playoffs opened up last week with Arizona’s loss to San Francisco on Saturday. If the Bears win, they will knock out the loser of the Cardinals-Rams game that is going on at the same time. The good news for Chicago has been how well they have played offensively in the four games since that loss at Green Bay, going 3-1 with an average of 35 points and 397 yards of total offense per game. A lot of the credit for that has to go to running back David Montgomery, who broke the 1,000 yard mark rushing for the year last week and has scored six touchdowns over the last four weeks. Mitchell Trubisky has also been reborn since returning from the bench, playing the role of game manager well and finding Allen Robinson on some deep patterns.

Still, the Packers have spent the year as the cream of the NFC crop thanks to Rodgers, who has thrown for over 4,000 yards, 44 touchdowns and just five interceptions with only one multi-turnover game. Green Bay gets home field advantage and the only bye in the NFC tournament with a win or a Seattle loss.  That’s important when you consider that at home in the playoffs, Rodgers is 2-5 away from Green Bay since winning the Super Bowl with three straight road wins in 2010. At home, Rodgers career playoff mark as a starter is 4-2 in that time frame.

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