It's the BIG One: PACKERS at BEARS - January 3, 2021

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It’s the BIG One: PACKERS at BEARS – January 3, 2021

Chicago Bears

As far as I’m concerned, every Bears-Packers game is a “big” one.

It’s the longest-running rivalry in professional football. Hence, it should always feels like a big game.

But this one is different.

This game has playoff implications for both the Bears and Packers. But the ramifications could impact everyone from Bears President Ted Phillips, GM Ryan Pace, Head Coach Matt Nagy, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and everyone in between. We’re on the cusp of what could be a game that could an organizational-shifter depending on the outcome.

Other than that, it’s just another ho-hum game between Chicago’s football team and That Team From Wisconsin.

Hook This Hype Video Directly to My Veins:

“Never Tell Me The Odds”

The DraftKings SportsBook lists the Bears (8-7) as 4.5-point underdogs against the Packers (12-3). Over/under: 50.5.

Series History:

The Packers lead 100-95-6. And the recent history between the two teams in meaningful Week 17s isn’t pretty:

Then again, I see this tweet and feel like it’s a sign that the Bears are due.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Soldier Field

Broadcast Info: Sunday, January 3 at 3:25 p.m. CT on FOX (Kevin Burkhardt, Daryl Johnston, Pam Oliver), WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote), Sports USA (Larry Kahn, Mark Carrier)

Referee: Craig Wrolstad

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Expected Starters:

Offense

•   QB Mitchell Trubisky
•   RB David Montgomery
•   WRs Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney, Anthony Miller
•   TE Jimmy Graham
•   LT Charles Leno Jr., LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG Alex Bars, RT Germain Ifedi

Defense

•   DT Akiem Hicks, NT Bilal Nichols, DE Brent Urban
•   OLBs Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn
•   ILBs Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan
•   CBs Kyle Fuller, Kindle Vildor
•   FS Eddie Jackson
•   SS Tashaun Gipson Sr.

Specialists

•   Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Sales (long snapper), Anthony Miller (punt returns), Cordarrelle Patterson (kick returns)

Packers Expected Starters:

•   QB Aaron Rodgers 
•   RB Aaron Jones
•   WRs Davante Adams, Allen Lazard
•   TE Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan
•   LT Billy Turner, LG Elgton Jenkins, C Corey Linsley, RG Lucas Patrick, RT Ricky Wagner

Defense

•   DE Dean Lowry, NT Kenny Clark, DE Kingsley Keke
•   OLB Preston Smith, ILB Krys Barnes, ILB Christian Kirksey, ROLB Za’Darius Smith
•   CBs Jaire Alexander, Kevin King
•   Ss Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage Jr.

Specialists

•   Mason Crosby (kicker), JK Scott (punter, holder), Hunter Bradley (long snapper), Jamaal Williams (kick returns), Tavon Austin (punt returns)

Three Bears …

Akiem Hicks missed the earlier meeting between the two teams. And when he last played against the Packers in 2019, Hicks was gutting it out in his return from a shoulder injury. The last time a healthy Hicks took aim at the Packers, he collected 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss, and 2 QB Hits in the 2019 regular-season opener. Chicago lost that game, but it was of no fault of a defense that collected five sacks and seven quarterback hits. Hicks is at the heart of the Bears’ defense. In other words, I think that unit will go as far as Hicks leads them on Sunday.

Eddie Jackson is set to play in his biggest game as a member of the Bears. And that alone blows my mind. Remember, Jackson missed the team’s playoff game after the 2018 regular season because of an injury he suffered while capturing a game-sealing interception of Aaron Rodgers. Jackson isn’t having a great year. In fact, he has snagged just two interceptions since the start of the 2019 season. That’s less than ideal, but it should serve as additional inspiration to snatch one on Sunday. Jackson must be on his A-game with Jaylon Johnson and Buster Skrine out. The ever-dangerous Davante Adams lurks.

Robert Quinn has been a disappointment. He has just two sacks and 4 quarterback hits in 515 defensive snaps. No, that’s not gonna cut it around these parts. HOWEVER, Quinn can make hay on Sunday by roughing up Rodgers in the biggest game of the year. I’m not saying this game is a legacy-maker of sorts. But in a series that has featured any number of unexpected heroes, a break-through performance by Quinn would register on another level if it came in a Bears win.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.