Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers Preview: Inside the Numbers

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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday, the Chicago Bears (8-7) take on the Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) for the NFC North division title. You might have heard that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will make his triumphant return to the field this week after missing game action since Week 9 when he broke his collarbone on a Shea McClellin sack. The magnitude of this game need not be overemphasized, but it could have offseason ramifications for both squads. Should Rodgers re-injure his collarbone Sunday, he will face a possible 6-12 month recovery time, according to some medical reports. If the Bears win and somehow catch fire in the playoffs, Jay Cutler could command a higher salary and/or more years than he might be currently worth. It is important to note, however, that this singular game cannot and should not be the deciding factor as to whether or not Phil Emery retains Cutler. It remains infinitely more important to study Cutler’s entire body of work, which may or may not lead the Bears’ front office to believe that Jay offers the franchise its best opportunity to win a Super Bowl in the next three years. Winning on Sunday would also prove monumental for coach Marc Trestman, who would be added to the list of HC’s to have made the playoffs in their first year on the job. Let’s go inside the numbers with the great metrics accumulated by Pro Football Focus.

While the Rodgers news made most of the headlines this week, the Packers also hinted that receiver Randall Cobb could return from the short-term injured reserve list as well. It remains to be seen how much Cobb might play on Sunday, but barring a Saturday setback, he should be activated in time for the Week 17 bout. Cobb reportedly looked great all week, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. If the dynamic slot receiver and return man does indeed suit up, his mere presence will undoubtedly frustrate the Bears’ league-worst defense. Speaking of which, said unit will not receive any relief in the form of Eddie Lacy sitting out this week. Lacy appeared somewhat questionable, but he practiced Friday and will likely run roughshod over the Bears at each of their pathetic defensive levels. Lacy now ranks third overall among halfbacks, according to PFF with a (17.4) overall grade. Opposing defense have missed 55 tackles on Lacy rushing attempts this year, tied for third most in the league. This, of course, spells trouble for a Bears’ defense disinterested in wrapping up ballcarriers. Lacy is an absolute load to bring down and it should be equally as difficult for writers to not name him Offensive Rookie of the Year.