Make or break. Do or die. Win or lose. This game seems to be either the bullet that kills the Green Bay Packers' season, or the win that gives them the momentum to round out the season strong enough to take the division. Last year the NFC North was owned by Green Bay, but Chicago gave them two of their three regular season losses. This season the Pack has lost two close games in a row, and today's won't be any easier. The Packers and Bears are both tied at 6th place in points scored per game. An offensive battle. But the key to this game is who exploits the other team's weakness more when they have the ball.
Chicago should expect to have problems against one of the best passing defenses in the NFL, even if Kyle Orton is back. What they need to do to win is crush the defense on the ground. Matt Forte has over 700 rushing yards this year and will be running into a 28th-ranked rush defense. To add on, veteran linebacker Nick Barnett tore a ligament in his leg last week in Minnesota and will miss the rest of the season. If Forte has a great game, Chicago will have no problem putting points on the board.
So, what about the Packers? Sure, Ryan Grant just had a game last week that gave everyone flashbacks of his amazing year in 2007-08, but like the Bears' pass attack, he should be easily stopped. Grant, who other than last week has been at least a slight letdown to everyone, will be trying to get around a rush defense in the NFL's Top 5. That means much of the weight will fall on Aaron Rodgers, and this is nothing new for him this season. Sure, he has a sore shoulder and seems to be "struggling" (remember, he came into this season with no starts), but this seems to be a game that can get him back on track. He is in the Top 5 in passer rating and will be throwing into a pass defense ranked 30th. When Rodgers played the Seahawks, ranked 31st in pass defense, earlier this eason, he had a 200-yard game with two touchdowns. Expect big things from him today.
In the end, it will all come down to who will make a bigger impact: the Bears running game or the Packers passing game. Or, looking at it on the other side of the ball, who will give up less: the Bears shallow secondary or the Packers sub-par run-defense. And at the end of the game, we'll see that the Chicago's secondary gave up more than Green Bay's front line, propelling the Pacers to a possible tie for the top of the NFC North. Why? Rodgers is a Top 5 quarterback, while the running game in Chicago is ranked only middle-of-the-pack. It's like asking what will put out a fire better, a fire hose or a Super Soaker? I'll take the fire hose and the Green Bay win.