Packers Fight for Playoff Position on a Slick Soldier Field

A game people will most certainly have their eyes on this weekend will be when the Packers and Bears face off in Chicago at a dampened Soldier Field. With a win in this NFC rivalry game, the Packers have an opportunity to clinch their third straight division crown. NFLWeather.com is predicting a 20% chance of rain, cloudy skies with a high near 43 degrees.  Despite the lack of heavy showers come game time, both teams must take into account that any wetness on Soldier Fields slick grass surface can cause problems for the defense.

Jumping into injury concerns, quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to play after suffering a neck injury last week. While he won’t be feeling his best in the cold and damp Chicago winter, this is great news for the rest of the Bears offense, particularly Brandon Marshall, who is leading the league this year in receptions. Rain or shine, the Bears offensive game plan is likely to mimic what the Lions did in the first quarter against the Packers last week, sustain long drives and keep Green Bay’s offense off the field. The bad news for Cutler however, is that Clay Matthews is scheduled to return this week. Matthews had 3.5 sacks against Cutler earlier this year so expect the Bears to draw up shorter drop backs and quick patterns.

The Packers offense speaks for itself. They proved last week in the freezing snow that they have no problems in nasty weather. With Soldier Field’s poor playing surface, expect quarterback Aaron Rodgers to keep Bear defenders off balance. Rodgers’ mobility out of the pocket will give Green Bay more options to move the ball if weather is an issue. And with Da’Bears banged up defensively in the middle, it would not be surprising if the Packers choose to run right at them.

According to NFLWeather.com’s Historical Analytics, oddly enough, the Packers and Bears have not met during the rain or snow over the past three years. Both teams already know what stakes are on the line in this rivalry game. It will be key to see if Chicago’s defense can get an early stop to get their crowd in the game. If not, the Packers offense will easily cruise their way to another NFC North title.

Chris Lovi
Columnists, NFLWeather.com
http://www.NFLWeather.com
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