Week 14 Preview: Bears at Packers — December 12, 2021

It’s Packers week again, and this time we get to do it on the primetime stage of Sunday Night Football, just so the entire football viewing world can get a good laugh at the expense of Bears fans. The Bears are 12.5-point dogs in this one, for a good reason. They’re in Lambeau, with a roster decimated by injury (that wasn’t that good when healthy), a rookie quarterback that hasn’t played in three weeks, and a head coach that’s one foot out the door, whether he knows it or not.

At least last time the Bears and Packers got together, we were still blissful enough about the 3-2 Bears to get together at Nisei Lounge with a few friends and have a few beers. At the same time, we lied to ourselves about the Bears having a shot at beating their boogeyman, Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers.

This is how that ended:

But, at least we had a great time. Anyways, let’s focus our attention on the only thing that matters for the Bears remaining five games this season, the development of Justin Fields. Or maybe even just keeping Justin Fields alive to see the 2022 season. Either way.

“Never Tell Me The Odds”

The DraftKings SportsBook lists the Bears (4-8) as 12.5-point underdogs against the Packers (9-3). Over/under: 43. More on the odds and ATS picks here.

Series History:

The Green Bay Packers lead the Chicago Bears 102-95-6 in the all-time series between the two storied rivals. The Packers have won each of the last five games, and as mentioned earlier, Matt Nagy is 1-6 against the Packers during his tenure in Chicago.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wi.

Broadcast Info: Sunday, December 12 at 7:20 CT on NBC-TV (Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth, Kathryn Tappen), WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote), Westwood One (Ryan Radtke, Mike Golic)

Officials: Ron Torbert (referee)

Expected Starters and Lineups:

CHICAGO BEARS (4-8, 2-1 NFC North)
201 (16.8 PPG, 30th of 32 teams)
287 (23.9 PPG, 21st of 32)

•   QB Justin Fields
•   RB David Montgomery
•   WRs Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney
•   TE Cole Kmet
•   LT Jason Peters, LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG James Daniels, RT Larry Borom

Unavailable: RB/PR Tarik Cohen

•   DT Akiem Hicks, NT Eddie Goldman, DE Bilal Nichols
•   OLBs Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson
•   ILBs Roquan Smith, Alec Ogletree
•   CBs Jaylon Johnson, Kindle Vildor
•   FS Eddie Jackson
•   SS Tashaun Gipson Sr.

Unavailable: LB Danny Trevathan, LB Khalil Mack, LB Cassius Marsh

•   Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Jakeem Grant Sr. (kick and punt returns)

Expected Starters and Lineups:

GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-3, 2-1 NFC North)
 120 (24.0 PPG, 13th of 32)
122 (24.4 PPG, 20th of 32)

•   QB Aaron Rodgers
•   RB Aaron Jones
•   WRs Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling
•   TEs Robert Tonyan
•   LT Yosh Nijman, LG Jon Runyan, C Lucas Patrick, RG Royce Newman, RT Billy Turner

•   DEs Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, NT Kenny Clark
•   OLBs Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, ILBs Krys Barnes, Oren Burks
•   CBs Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes
•   S Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage

•   Mason Crosby (kicker), Corey Bojorquez (punter, holder), Hunter Bradley (long snapper), Malik Taylor, Amari Rodgers (kick and punt returns)

Three Bears

Justin Fields is back under center for the Bears after missing two games with cracked ribs suffered in the Bears’ loss to the Baltimore Raven in Week 11. I could say that Fields will have to be better than he was the first time he played the Packers for the Bears to have a chance to win on Sunday in Green Bay. That would be true. That would also be implying that I believe there is a viable path to victory for the Bears this Sunday, and let’s face it, that’s probably not the case. But, I still need to see more out of Justin Fields against the Packers, and not because I think he can beat them this season, but because I want to see a strong finish from Fields over the next five weeks, for the sake of his development heading into 2022. So, regardless of the box score, Fields’ performance should be a focal point.

Roquan Smith is having himself one heck of a season, having already logged 121 tackles, three sacks, an interception, and a touchdown. Much like Justin Fields, Smith’s performance should be a focal point for Bears fans and pundits this week, win or lose, because Smith is very much one of the brightest parts of the future of this franchise. I wrote about Smith finally getting some national love this week, and in combing through the stats, I realized that the former Georgia Bulldog is on a Brian Urlacher pace through his first four seasons with the Bears. The eye has informed us that he is a special player, and the fact that he’ll likely finish this season with more tackles through four seasons than Urlacher did, backs up that observation.

Can Smith wreak havoc on Aaron Rodgers this Sunday? He sure can. Will it matter much with the rest of the Bears’ injury-decimated 20th ranked defense playing around him? Probably not.

David Montgomery is the backbone of this offense for the time being. If all goes well, Justin Fields will takeover within that role shortly, but for now, the Bears offense marches to the beat of David Montgomery’s drum. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Matt Nagy take a page out of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels’ playbook from this past Monday night when they ran the ball down the throats of the Buffalo Bills? Keep on dreaming. We’re four years into the Nagy era, and if one thing rings true, it’s that Nagy cares more about his scheme than anything else. Don’t expect him to change at this point. I’ll be thrilled if we see 20-25 carries for David Montgomery on Sunday.

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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