Sunday Snapshot: Packers vs. Bears

The NFL experts chip in with everything you need to know just ahead of Sunday's matchup between the rival Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Week 14.

Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. Central
Surface: Grass
Television: FOX – Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick
Series: 178th regular-season meeting in the NFL's most frequently played rivalry. Bears lead 90-81-6. Packers won this year's season opener 21-15 at Lambeau Field, as Bears QB Jay Cutler threw four interceptions. The Bears won the last meeting at Soldier Field, 20-17, last season on Monday Night Football.

The Packers intercepted Cutler four times in a season-opening victory at home, and the defense has only improved as it now leads the league in yards allowed. Chicago ran the ball a season-high 38 times last Sunday and needs to stay committed to the ground game to keep Cutler out of dangerous third-and-long situations. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers also struggled in the first meeting while under constant pressure, but his pass protection has improved of late. Chicago has had good success limiting RB Ryan Grant to 61 rushing yards in each of the past two meetings.

Rodgers leads the league with a 132.0 passer rating on third downs with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. ... Cutler has been held under 200 passing yards for three consecutive games.

OT Orlando Pace
Getty Images: Doug Pensinger

OT Orlando Pace (groin) returned to practice on a limited basis but will probably be listed as questionable at best for Sunday's game. ... OT Chris Williams will get his second NFL start at left tackle if Pace cannot play. Williams started the first 11 games at right tackle. ... LB Lance Briggs (knee) will start Sunday after going through a full practice on Thursday. ... LB Hunter Hillenmeyer (groin) went through a full practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday. ... LB Jamar Williams, who was credited with 20 tackles and two passes defensed last week filling in for Briggs at weak-side linebacker, will get increased playing time somewhere this week, either in the middle to give Hillenmeyer a few plays off or on the strong side in place of Nick Roach. ... OT Kevin Shaffer will start at right tackle if Williams starts again at left tackle for Pace.

Packers: LB Nick Barnett returned to practice in limited fashion Thursday after being held out a day to rest a sore knee. The starter probably will try to go through the full practice Friday. His playing status for Sunday's game at the Bears would seem to be good at this point. ... NT Ryan Pickett didn't practice for a second straight day, leaving the starter's status up in air for the upcoming game. Pickett suffered a game-ending hamstring strain in the victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Coach Mike McCarthy said this week that Pickett would probably be a game-time decision Sunday. ... DL B.J. Raji had some limited work in practice Thursday as he tries to bounce back from an ankle injury he suffered in the last game. The rookie is optimistic he'll be ready to play against the Bears. As Pickett's backup on the inside of the line, Raji's role would be enhanced if Pickett can't play or is limited Sunday with a hamstring injury. ... DE Cullen Jenkins didn't practice again Thursday. The starter emerged from the last game with hamstring soreness. The team is hopeful Jenkins will practice Friday and be OK to play this weekend. ... DE Johnny Jolly also was held out for a second straight day Thursday. The starter aggravated a knee injury Monday. As with Jenkins, the Packers are keeping their fingers crossed that Jolly can give it a go Friday in practice and then play Sunday. ... TE Jermichael Finley was again limited in practice Thursday. He is trying to overcome a knee bruise that knocked him out of a portion of Monday's game. The injury isn't considered serious, so Finley figures to be OK for Sunday.

Packers 21, Bears 17.

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