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Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Prediction: Struggling NFC North Rivals Look to End Losing Streaks

Packers aim for eighth straight win over Bears as NFL's oldest rivalry resumes in the Windy City.

When the Chicago Bears welcome the Green Bay Packers to Soldier Field on Sunday, the league's oldest rivals will both be looking to get back in the win column.

The Bears (3-9) lost their fifth straight game last Sunday as Justin Fields watched from the bench while his team was hammered by the New York Jets 31-10. As for the Packers (4-8), who are only one game ahead of the Bears in the NFC North standings, they dropped their second consecutive game as they fell to the NFL's best team, the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Both teams come into this game with injury concerns and want to stay out of the NFC North basement. The Packers' success against their archrivals in recent years has been well documented, but the Bears are hoping to change their fortunes against the Cheese Heads. The playoffs are essentially out of reach for these teams, but they still have pride to play for.

Green Bay (4-8) at Chicago (3-9)

Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Packers -2.5
Tickets: As low as $126 on SITickets.com

Three Things to Watch

1. Quarterback concerns
After injuring his shoulder in Atlanta two weeks ago, Fields sat out last week's loss to the Jets. Trevor Siemian got the nod, although he injured an oblique muscle right before the game during warmups. He wound up playing through the pain and completed 14 of 25 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Since then, the Bears have essentially kept Fields at a "pitch count" per se in practice, while Siemian has not practiced.

Chicago also gave a major indication about the health of their quarterback room earlier this week when they signed Tim Boyle off of Detroit's practice squad and added him to the active roster. The only other signal-caller the Bears had prior to that move was Nathan Peterman. Across four games last season, Boyle completed 61 passes for 526 yards, three touchdowns, and six interceptions. Peterman did not attempt a pass in his lone appearance, ironically against the Bears.

Then on Friday, head coach Matt Eberflus revealed that Fields is "on track" to play after logging full practices on Thursday and Friday. He doesn't carry an injury designation so barring a late setback, Fields should start. Siemian, however, is done for the season as he is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the oblique injury. Even though Boyle was added to the roster, Peterman will serve as the backup on Sunday.

The Packers have their own concerns under center. Aaron Rodgers was pulled during the fourth quarter of last Sunday night's loss in Philadelphia with an injury to his rib cage. Rodgers had completed just 11 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns before he got hurt.

Jordan Love finished the game and wound up throwing for 113 yards while guiding the Packers on scoring drives on each of their last two possessions. Rodgers hasn't practiced much this week, but he's insistent that he will return to the lineup on Sunday. If he does not, the flashes we saw from Love last week were a positive sign. Either way, don't expect a ton of offense between these two teams as opposed to Week 2.

2. Issues on defense
In most years, the Bears' defense would mask any weaknesses by the offense, while the Packers' defense keeps their team competitive across the board. That hasn't exactly been the case in 2022. The Bears rank 20th in total defense (350.0 ypg), 27th in run defense (143.9 ypg), and 24th in scoring defense (25.4 ppg), although they are 12th in pass defense (206.1 ypg). In New Jersey last week, the Bears allowed Jets backup quarterback Mike White to pass for 315 yards and three scores. They only sacked him once, and he completed all but seven passes.

The continued lack of a pass rush left the back end of the Bears' defense on an island. If that wasn't bad enough, they allowed New York to run for 158 yards (with a rushing TD) on 4.9 yards per carry. White was starting for a benched Zach Wilson, but the offense didn't skip a beat. 

There has been one silver lining, though, as this unit has played its worst football. Undrafted rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn has made his case for sticking around in 2023, as he's been one of the few consistent defensive performers. During the Bears' five-game slide, the Wisconsin alum has made 45 tackles, four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and one fumble recovery. Sanborn has given this team a lift, especially with all of the injuries on this side of the ball and the Roquan Smith trade.

As for the Packers D, they've had their issues as well. Expected to be one of the best units in the league, they're 16th in total defense (342.6 ypg), 31st in run defense (154.8 ypg), and 20th in scoring defense. The only bright spot is a pass defense that ranks fourth at 187.8 ypg. A major factor in giving up 40 points to the Eagles last weekend was watching Jalen Hurts pick up 310 total yards, 157 of which came on the ground. Eagles running back Miles Sanders gashed Green Bay for 143 yards on the ground with two scores. That's a ton of damage done by just two players, and the Packers didn't have an answer for them. 

One player who has done everything to keep this team going is rookie linebacker Quay Walker. He's totaled 31 tackles (two for a loss), a fumble recovery, and a deflected pass over his last three games. Like the Bears, the Packers also have injuries on defense.

The game plan for both defenses will depend on who starts at quarterback for the opposing team. If Fields and Rodgers start, the Bears will need to find a way to pressure Rodgers and disrupt his rhythm, while the Packers need to limit Fields' mobility. If they don't start, then both sides will need to take advantage of areas where the opposing quarterback is lacking.

3. Injuries abound for both teams
In addition to Fields and Siemian being banged up, defensive backs Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) and Eddie Jackson (foot), along with wide receiver Darnell Mooney (ankle), were all put on injured reserve this week. Mooney and Jackson's injuries required season-ending surgery. Safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Kyler Gordon both remain in concussion protocol and they have been ruled out for Sunday's game. Larry Borom (ankle/knee) also won't play while fellow offensive lineman Riley Reiff (back) is listed as questionable.

The only other Bear listed as questionable is Kindle Vildor (ankle). Wide receivers Chase Claypool (knee) and Dante Pettis (illness), along with linebacker Sterling Weatherford, are included on the injury report but don't carry a designation, meaning they are all expected to play.

In terms of volume, Green Bay's injury report is longer than Chicago's but the only player who has been ruled out already is left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee). Safety Darnell Savage (foot) is listed as doubtful and hasn't practiced all week, so he's probably not playing either, while linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and wide receiver Romeo Doubs (ankle) are questionable. No other Packer carries an injury designation, including Rodgers, but he and seven others appear on the injury report. That group includes running backs Aaron Jones (shin/glute) and AJ Dillon (quad), both of whom have been limited practice participants all week. To say that both teams could be shorthanded on Sunday is an understatement.

Final Analysis

The Bears only have two wins over the Packers in the last eight seasons. Those wins came during Week 12 of the 2015 season (Thanksgiving) and Week 15 of the 2018 season, meaning the Packers have swept the season series in each of the previous three seasons. Green Bay won this year's first meeting up at Lambeau, too, back in Week 2.

The Packers lead this all-time series 104-95-6. They have too much momentum in this rivalry to lose now, they don't have as many serious — or season-ending — injuries as the Bears, and they'll pick up the "W" on Sunday regardless of who's at quarterback.

Prediction: Packers 20, Bears 17

— Written by Gabe Salgado, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He can also be heard on WGN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.

*Price as of publication.