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December

2011 NFL Season Week 16: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Preview — Home (Field) For The Holidays

Packers vs. Bears

Packers vs. Bears

After giving their fans a lump of coal last week in Kansas City, the Green Bay Packers look to make amends and stuff Packer Nation’s stockings with home field advantage for the playoffs as well as beating their despised archrival.

A week after suffering their first loss of the season, the Packers return to the friendly confines of Lambeau Field to take on the Chicago Bears Christmas night on national television.   Should the San Francisco 49ers lose on Saturday to the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers will have home field wrapped up before they take the field and there is the possibility Mike McCarthy could rest his starters.

Should the 49ers win, the Packers can secure the NFC number one seed with a win over the Bears.  The game plan could go one of two ways depending on Saturday’s outcome.

Regardless, the Packers come into the game with a battered offensive line.  Bryan Bulaga is out this week with an ankle injury and Derek Sherrod, Bulaga’s replacement, broke his leg in gruesome fashion and is out for the remainder of the year.  Throw in an off day by Aaron Rodgers and his receivers in Kansas City, and the Packers have plenty of motivation to play well even if they have the top seed locked down.

The Bears meanwhile are looking like they could be in a complete tailspin. With top offensive players Jay Cutler and Matt Forte sidelined, the Bears turn to Josh McCown at quarterback after Caleb Hanie stunk up the joint the past few weeks.  Marion Barber carries the load on the ground.  The Bears also lost Johnny Knox to a scary injury last week, though Knox fortunately was able to gain feeling back in his extremities.

Let’s look at the key Bears to watch on Sunday.

QB Josh McCown

I would normally say this should be all too easy with the Packers facing a quarterback that is out of practice and having one the best ball hawking secondaries in the league.  After watching their performance against a supposedly rusty (and injured) Kyle Orton a week ago, I’m not taking anything for granted.

McCown is already a legend to Packer fans after he led the Arizona Cardinals to a comeback victory over the Minnesota Vikings in 2003 that clinched the NFC North for the Packers, and fans hope he wraps a few more gifts on Sunday in the form of interceptions.