Kickoff: Sunday, 12:00 CT
Television: FOX – Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver
Series: 175th meeting. Bears lead series 89-79-6. Chicago has won four of the last five meetings between the division rivals, including a 27-20 verdict at Green Bay in Week 5 this year. The Packers, though, have won 12 of the past 13 games in Illinois. They are 12-2 at Soldier Field with Brett Favre at quarterback since 1992.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The Bears can't stack the line like they did against Minnesota because Favre has far too many weapons with which to play catch. With the forecast calling for temperatures below freezing, this figures to be an excellent opportunity for the Packers to use RB Ryan Grant against the Bears' 25th-ranked run defense to set Favre up in the passing game. ... The Bears struggle enough to move the ball, so they have to cut down on the pre-snap penalties that plagued them Monday night. And with the offensive line struggling to provide any time for QB Kyle Orton, Chicago flat out has to find a way to run the ball more effectively.
Packers: FB Korey Hall (strained hip) might miss the remainder of the regular season; NT Ryan Pickett (groin) looks like he'll be rested at least one game; QB Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) is expected to be the No. 3 QB.
Green Bay has clinched a first-round bye. ... Favre has 61,405 career passing yards, moving past Dan Marino (61,361) for the most in NFL history. ... Bears CB Charles Tillman has three INTs, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in the past four meetings – all Bears wins.
DE Mark Anderson
Mark J. Terrill/AP Images
Bears: Anderson missed a second straight day of practice and is not expected to play Sunday. ... CB Nathan Vasher (knee) missed a second straight day of practice but said he's "definitely" playing Sunday, although he said his chances last week were "slim to none." However, he played nearly every snap while getting his first pick of the season after missing 10 straight games with a groin injury. ... LB Lance Briggs (hip) missed a second straight day of practice Thursday but is expected to play Sunday. ... WR Devin Hester returned to full practice Thursday after missing a day with a shin injury. ... Orton's last start against Green Bay was just over two years ago, when he completed six of 17 passes for 68 yards, one interception and a passer rating of 23.7 while being sacked three times.
Packers: Hall could miss the remaining two games of the regular season because of a strained hip he suffered in the 33-14 win at St. Louis on Sunday. Hall has started 11 of the 14 games. John Kuhn will fill the void until Hall returns. ... Favre added career passing yards to his list of record-breaking achievements this season. Favre threw for 227 yards Sunday, giving him an all-time total of 61,405. Dan Marino had the league record with 61,361. ... Grant, who came into the game as the league's top rusher since Week 8, was held to 55 yards in 18 carries. It equaled Grant's lowest output in the last eight games since becoming the featured back. ... WR Greg Jennings hauled in a 44-yard scoring pass from Favre, his fifth straight game with a touchdown. Jennings leads the team with 12 touchdowns, the most by a Packer since Javon Walker also had a dozen in 2004. ... WR Donald Driver attained his fourth straight 1,000-yard season after catching five passes for 80 yards Sunday. Driver has 1,016 receiving yards. With 78 receptions, he's on the verge of a fourth consecutive season with at least 80 catches. ... TE Donald Lee had only one catch in the game, but it went for a 4-yard touchdown to give him six TDs this season, second on the team. Lee is three receptions short of 50. ... LB Nick Barnett had a career-high two of the defense's four sacks Sunday, halting an eight-game drought in which Barnett didn't have a sack. Barnett has 3.5 this season. ... SS Atari Bigby set a career high with two interceptions, both off pass deflections. Bigby has three picks in the last two games and four for the season, tying him with CB Charles Woodson for the team lead. ... DE Aaron Kampman had a sack to increase his team-leading total to 12. It was only the second game in the last six in which Kampman recorded a sack. ... Rodgers was relegated to the inactive No. 3 role for the last two games because of a strained hamstring. He might be ready for spot duty Sunday at Chicago.
Packers 24, Bears 19.
All of that plus much more in the February issue of ...
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