The game does not have any impact on the standings -- both teams are locked into their current positions. Win or lose, the Bears finish fourth and last in the NFC North. The Packers will remain NFC North champions and the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs no matter what happens in this game.
But this game still has plenty of meaning since the Bears will try to record their first home win over the Packers since the 1993 season and their first series sweep since 1991. When head coach Lovie Smith was hired last January, he told the assembled media and Bear fans that he knew how to beat Green Bay. The Bears' first meeting with the Packers this season resulted in a 21-10 victory, and he would like to repeat that success in the season finale.
Look for the Bears to open up their offense more in this game than they have in recent weeks. This is their playoff game, so it might benefit them to try to attack the 26th-ranked pass defense in the league. Since the Packers are likely to rest many of their regulars at least part of the game, an early lead might be the key to the Bears registering a win over their venerable rivals.
Chicago's wide receivers have been a liability much of the year. WRs David Terrell and Bobby Wade lead the unit with 38 receptions each and don't compare with the Packers' duo of Donald Driver and Javon Walker. However, this could be the game where Terrell and Wade play without fear and leave a solid final impression on the coaches.
BEARS MATCHUPS TO WATCH
--Bears OLT Marc Colombo vs. Packers RDE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila -- Colombo makes his second consecutive start, and the speed rush of Gbaja-Biamila will likely test him. While Colombo did not allow a sack in his start against the Lions, the ultra-quick Gbaja-Biamila (9.5 sacks) will likely give him trouble.
--Packers QB Brett Favre vs. Bears FS R.W. McQuarters -- While Favre might not play more than a few series in this game, he appears to have a major advantage over McQuarters, who has moved to safety from cornerback and has not yet learned how to play the position. McQuarters is often out of position and has not shown any inclination to make a tackle. If Favre or backup QB Craig Nall manages to look off McQuarters, this could be a major win for the Pack.
--Packers RB Ahman Green vs. Bears MLB Hunter Hillenmeyer -- Green committed a key fumble in the first meeting between the Bears and Packers when he put the ball on the turf following a big hit by Brian Urlacher and Mike Brown picked the ball up and ran 95 yards for a score. With Urlacher (leg) out of the lineup, Hillenmeyer is asked to take over and slow down Green. It won't be easy since Green has rushed for an average of 128 yards per game in his last three outings against the Bears.
BEARS INJURY IMPACT
While Hunter Hillenmeyer did not practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury suffered last week against Detroit, he will almost certainly be in the lineup against the Packers. Hillenmeyer missed a couple of series in the second quarter against Detroit before he returned to the lineup. ... DT Tommie Harris is listed as probable on the injury report with an ankle problem. He has started the previous 15 games and will not end his rookie season by sitting on the bench unless he takes a turn for the worse. ... WR Justin Gage has been a disappointment this season with 12 catches for 156 yards. While the Bears are normally a conservative team, they could open things up against Green Bay, and Gage could play a bigger role than normal. He is listed as probable on the injury report with a foot injury, and he should play.
PACKERS GAME PLAN
On offense, the Packers get a huge break with the injury absence of DE Adewale Ogunleye and MLB Brian Urlacher. Their replacements, Michael Haynes and Hunter Hillenmeyer, aren't in the same league. The Bears, however, do possess a highly competitive front seven led by DE Alex Brown, DT Tommie Harris and WLB Lance Briggs. They rally to the football and hit hard, so if the Packers are off their blocks it could be a frustrating day.
On defense, the Packers will try to confuse QB Chad Hutchinson. He has struggled against various forms of pressure in his five previous starts. The Packers haven't blitzed since early in the season but might bring some heat out of mothballs. Thomas Jones had a huge game against the Packers at Lambeau, so expect a lot of him. The Bears aren't deep at wide receiver. Cornerbacks Al Harris and Ahmad Carroll should be in the faces of David Terrell and Bobby Wade.
PACKERS MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Packers DTs Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt vs. Bears Gs Terrence Metcalf and Steve Edwards -- The Bears have allowed a club-record 57 sacks for a reason. Injuries to starters Ruben Brown and Rex Tucker have forced the unproven Metcalf and Edwards to start. Jackson looked resurgent against Minnesota. Hunt could have a chance to get well here.
Packers LT Chad Clifton vs. Bears RE Alex Brown -- Clifton is a better player than Detroit's Jeff Backus. Last week, Brown got the measure of Backus at Ford Field. Brown is good around the corner, can bull rush and is sturdy against the run.
PACKERS INJURY IMPACT
RB Najeh Davenport (right shoulder) missed practiced Wednesday but seems improved. WR Robert Ferguson (concussion) isn't expected to play for the second straight week as he recovers slow from the illegal hit by Jacksonville S Donovin Darius. NT Grady Jackson (knee) probably won't practice much but would be ready to play if coach Mike Sherman sees fit. T Kevin Barry (quad tendon) has missed the last three games and remains questionable.