GREEN BAY (9-4) at CHICAGO (8-5)
KICKOFF: Sunday, noon, FOX
OPENING LINE: Packers by 3
RECORD VS. SPREAD: Green Bay 7-6; Chicago 6-7
SERIES RECORD: Bears lead 92-87-6
AP PRO32 RANKING: Packers No. 6 (tie); Bears No. 12
LAST MEETING: Packers beat Bears 23-10, Sept. 13
LAST WEEK: Packers beat Detroit 27-20; Bears lost to Vikings 21-14
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES: Packers have won seven of eight and can clinch second straight NFC North title with win. ... Green Bay has also won five straight and seven of eight against Chicago, including NFC title game two years ago. Packers eyeing third season sweep in four years against Bears. ... Win would give Green Bay fourth straight season with double-digit victories, tying team record. ... Packers have won franchise-record 11 straight division games. ... Packers sixth in NFL with 35 sacks. ... Packers sacked Chicago's Jay Cutler seven times and intercepted him four times in first meeting this season. ... CB Charles Woodson (broken collarbone) out for seventh straight game. ... LB Clay Matthews practiced Wednesday for first time since pulling hamstring last month and was eager to play this week. Had career-high 3 1/2 sacks against Cutler last time and leads Packers with nine despite missing past four games. ... Bears have dropped four of five after 7-1 start. ... Chicago placed K Robbie Gould (left calf), CB Sherrick McManis (knee) and S Craig Steltz (chest) on injured reserve and signed veteran K Olindo Mare to one-year contract. ... Bears lead NFL with 35 takeaways. ... Defense has seven touchdowns, all on interception returns. ... Cutler expects to play after leaving last week's game with sore neck. Including NFC title game two years ago, Cutler 1-7 against Packers with twice as many interceptions (16) as touchdowns (eight). Cutler's 11,754 yards passing rank second in team history behind Sid Luckman's 14,686. ... WR Brandon Marshall had two catches for 24 yards last time against Green Bay. Leads NFL with franchise-record 101 receptions, ranks second in league in yards receiving with career-high 1,342 and tied for third with nine TD catches, one behind league leaders A.J. Green of Cincinnati and New England's Rob Gronkowski. ... CB Charles Tillman has career-high nine forced fumbles.
PACKER REPORT PREDICTION (11-2): The Bears will give the Packers their best shot but they're like a race car spewing black smoke on the way to the finish line. After an 8-1 start, they've lost four of their last five games. If scoring six points against Houston and seven points against San Francisco wasn't bad enough, the real killer was the 23-17 loss in overtime at home against Seattle two weeks ago. The Seahawks don't exactly have a juggernaut offense and the Bears' strength is their defense. And yet, Seattle drove 97 yards in the final moments to score a touchdown to force overtime, then drove 80 yards in the extra session for the winning touchdown. The Packers have been slammed by injuries but the Bears might actually be in worse shape. Brian Urlacher and cornerback Tim Jennings, who leads the NFL in interceptions, are out and Henry Melton, who is second among defensive tackles with six sacks, is doubtful. Packers 24, Bears 13.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.