Injury Report: Bears vs. Packers

The Bears (13-2) return home to close out their regular season on New Year's Eve against the Packers (7-8). The Bears have home field locked up throughout the conference playoffs. Meanwhile, the Packers are clinging to the slimmest of playoff hopes. It's likely their fate will be decided prior to kickoff. Let's take a closer look at the injuries and how they'll impact this week's matchup.

BEARS - S Mike Brown (foot), WR Airese Currie (foot), DT Dusty Dvoracek (foot), DT Tommie Harris (hamstring), FB Bryan Johnson (leg), S Brandon McGowan (Achilles), Jamar Williams (shoulder)
PACKERS - QB Aaron Rodgers (foot), WR Shaun Bodiford (leg), S Marviel Underwood (knee), CB Will Blackmon (ribs), RB Arliss Beach (ankle), LB Kurt Campbell (shoulder), OT Josh Bourke (back), OT Kevin Barry (quadriceps), TE Tory Humphrey (hamstring), WR Robert Ferguson (foot), DE Michael Montgomery (knee), DT Kenderick Allen (foot)

BEARS - none
PACKERS - none

BEARS - none
PACKERS - none

BEARS - OT John Tait (ankle), CB Charles Tillman (back), LB Leon Joe (hamstring), FB Jason McKie (ankle)
PACKERS - TE David Martin (rib), LB Abdul Hodge (shoulder), S Atari Bigby

BEARS - OG Ruben Brown (shoulder), RB Thomas Jones (ankle)
PACKERS - Charles Woodson (shoulder), RB Ahman Green (knee), WR Donald Driver (shoulder)

Bears Offense vs. Packers Defense
Fullback Jason McKietwisted an ankle in the first quarter last week against the Lions. Third-string tight end Gabe Reid stepped in for him and played well. His blocking was better than expected, and his abilities as a receiver proved to be a reliable outlet for Rex Grossman. Rookie J.D. Runnels may be active for the game if it's determined early on that McKie can not play. John St. Clair has started at last tackle the last few weeks for John Tait (ankle). The Bears may want to give Tait a few reps before the bye week. With the top playoff seed locked up, the Bears may be looking to spell Grossman and running back Thomas Jones. Brian Griese is likely to see action as well as third-string runner Adrian Peterson. Cedric Benson should expect a similar workload to last week.

The Packers have won their last three games. Over that span, they've allowed an average of only 11.7 points per game. The Green Bay defense has 44 sacks. They're sparked by defensive end Aaron Kampman (83 tackles, 15.5 sacks). Kampman is a classic high-motor player who has worked hard to improve year after year. Veteran Fred Miller will draw the assignment. If he doesn't stick with his blocks, Kampman's never-say-die attitude will pay dividends for Green Bay. Young linebackers A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett fly to the football and make plays all over the field. Free agent pickup Charles Woodson has seven interceptions at cornerback.

The Bears didn't let their established playoff seeding impact their play-calling against the Lions. The Packers should expect the Bears to remain balanced between the run and pass. Green Bay will be looking to blitz Grossman and challenge his ability to find his hot reads when the matchups dictate and there are more rushers than the Bears have blockers.

Bears Defense vs. Packers Offense
With Tommie Harris (hamstring) out for the season, defensive tackles Ian Scott, Alfonso Boone and Antonio Garay stepped up last week to apply pressure in the middle. Tank Johnson is expected to return from his deactivation and suspension. The Bears will want him to get the rust off for the playoffs but may not necessarily reward him with a return as the starter. The Bears secondary has struggled the last month as it strived to regain health and continuity. Safety Todd Johnson and cornerback Nathan Vasher got back into the action last week but weren't in top form. The problems Charles Tillman has been experiencing with his back have complicated matters. Special-teams ace Devin Hester has been seeing considerable time as a cornerback in sub packages. He has been easy prey for veteran quarterbacks and receivers.

Right tackle Mark Tauscher returned to action last Thursday after missing more than a month with an injured groin. He will get a heavy dose of defensive ends Adewale Ogunleye (6.5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries) and rookie Mark Anderson (12 sacks, 4 forced fumbles). Although nowhere near as mobile as in his earlier years, Brett Favre has only taken 19 sacks. Wide receiver Donald Driver(89 catches, 1272 yards, 7 TDs) has been the playmaker for the Packers and one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFC. But he's fighting through shoulder and thigh injuries.

After starting the season off like record-setters, the Bears defense has fizzled. They'd like to end the year on a strong note at home against the rival Packers. The Packers will pose a special challenge with Brett Favre looking to exploit the holes recently revealed in the Bears secondary. Look for the Bears to challenge the middle of the young Packer line to force Favre back to the edge where the Bears' ends will be glad to clean up.

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