Bears-Packers Snapshot

A victory over Green Bay would give Chicago a sweep over their rival, the NFC North title and a first round bye in the playoffs.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 5:00 ET
GAMEDATE:
12/24/05
SURFACE:
Grass
TV:
FOX, Sam Rosen, Bill Maas, Chris Myers

SERIES: 171st meeting. The Bears lead the series, 86-78-6. The Packers had dominated the previous 11 years, winning on the road every year and taking 19 of 22 games overall. But the Bears have now won two of the last three meetings, 19-7 three weeks ago at Soldier Field and 21-10 at Lambeau Field last year.

2005 RANKINGS: Bears: offense 29th (9th rush, 31st pass); defense 1st (8th rush, 1st pass).

Packers: offense 18th (30th rush, 9th pass); defense 8th (25th rush, 2nd pass)

FAST FACTS: Bears: Clinch the NFC North title and the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a victory. A Minnesota loss would also wrap up the division race... Are 4-0 against the NFC North this season.

Packers: Are 13-1 (9-0 at home) within their division in December and January under coach Mike Sherman. ... Favre needs five touchdown passes to join Dan Marino (420) as the only players in NFL history with at least 400.

BEARS PERSONNEL NEWS

  • QB Rex Grossman this week will start his first regular-season game since Sept. 26, 2004, when he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee. A fractured left ankle on Aug. 12 sidetracked his comeback. His last victory as a starting quarterback came at Lambeau Field in Week Two of last year.

  • SS Mike Brown, who has missed the last two games with a strained calf, is expected to play today at Green Bay, where he suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon in Week Two last season.

  • FS Chris Harris said he will play today after missing two games with a sprained knee.

  • WR Justin Gage has just seven catches for 72 yards in the four games since he caught seven balls for 81 yards on Nov. 20.

    PACKERS PERSONNEL NEWS

  • TE Bubba Franks' most unproductive season as a pro prematurely ended Thursday. The Packers placed their three-time Pro Bowl player on injured reserve.

  • RB Noah Herron took most of the reps with the first-string offense, an indication that the rookie will make his first pro start today. The coaches are apparently inclined to leave veteran Tony Fisher in his effective role as a third-down back. Herron was signed off Pittsburgh's practice squad last month. He has played in the last three games and gained 27 yards in eight carries.

  • WR Robert Ferguson didn't practice Thursday or Friday and is questionable for the game against Chicago. The starter aggravated a torn knee ligament in the loss at Baltimore on Monday.

  • RG Will Whitticker missed the last two days of practice as he deals with lingering effects from a concussion sustained in the last game. Grey Ruegamer replaced Whitticker as the starter in practice, though Whitticker is probable for today's game.

  • OLB Robert Thomas was held out of practice because of a strained quadriceps. The injury has sidelined Thomas four of the last five games. He's questionable, and Paris Lenon would be in line to start at the weakside spot.

  • OLB Na'il Diggs received the majority of the reps at the strongside linebacker this week and stands a good chance of rejoining the starting lineup for the first time in four games.

  • CB Mike Hawkins didn't practice Thursday or Friday because of a bruised knee. The nickel back is questionable for today and could be replaced by rookie Jerron Wishom.

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