The Green Bay Packers (7-3) will host the Chicago Bears (4-6) Thanksgiving Night at Lambeau Field. The kickoff is set for 7:30 pm Central Time on NBC with Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth on the call. The head official for the game will be the one and only Ed Hochuli.
There is much more going on than just a football game in Green Bay Thursday night.
The Packers will be retiring legendary quarterback Brett Favre’s number 4 jersey and will also place his name up in the Ring of Fame with some of the greatest players to ever play football.
Favre will join running back Tony Canadeo (3), wide receiver Don Hutson (14), linebacker Ray Nitschke (66), defensive lineman Reggie White (92), and quarterback Bart Starr (15). Starr has been battling health issues over the past year, but will be in attendance for Favre’s ceremony.
Brett Favre was traded to the Green Bay Packers from the Atlanta Falcons in the spring of 1992 for a first round draft pick. Favre said after he was traded to Green Bay that he couldn’t find the city on a map, but luckily for Packers fans he was able to find the stadium and turn Packer football around.
Favre played 16 seasons for the Packers starting every game after he led the team to a comeback 24-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on September 11th, 1992. Favre led the Packers to the promise land in the 1996-97 season when the team made their first trip to the Super Bowl in 29 years and won Super Bowl 31, 35-21, over the Patriots.
Brett finished his Packers career with a Super Bowl ring, 3 league MVP awards, and many memorable moments in the Packers uniform.
What I was able to calculate from his 16 seasons in Green Bay, Favre finished his career 5,377-of-8,754 for 61,655 yards and 442 touchdowns, an absolutely incredible career for a player that got only 1 scholarship offer out of high school.
As for the game at hand, the Packers and Bears have met 191 times with Chicago still leading the series 93-92-6 and out of all of those meetings the oldest NFL rivalry has never met on Thanksgiving.
These two teams met in week 1 in Chicago with Green Bay winning 31-23. The Packers have won 13 of the last 16 games including the 2011 NFC Championship game. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is 1-12 career against the Packers.
The Packers are coming off a huge 30-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. The offense played better than they have in previous weeks, but Aaron Rodgers and his receivers timing is still not 100%.
One player that really stepped up was running back Eddie Lacy who ran 22 times for 100 yards and looked like he has in the past.
Rodgers finished 16-of-34 for 212 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and a QBR of 83.1.
The defense really played well holding the NFL’s leading rusher Adrian Peterson to just 45 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown and a huge fumble late in the game.
The Packers did come away with an award for their special teams play this week as kicker Mason Crosby was awarded the Special Teams Player of the Week. Crosby finished the game 5-of-5 in field goals from 42, 47, 40, 42, and 52 yards.
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater did not play great, but threw 25-of-37 for 296 yards, but was sacked six times for 48 yards.
As for the Chicago Bears, they are coming off a tough 17-15 loss to the Broncos who were led by AFC Offensive Player of the Week Brock Osweiler.
After the week one loss to Green Bay, the Bears lost the next two games, including getting shutout 26-0 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Since then, they have won 4 of 6 before the game against Denver and are looking to make a push in the NFC North and try to get into the playoffs.
The Bears have not been the same since running back Matt Forte went out with an injury, which will be good for the Packers defense. Forte torched the Packers for 141 yards in this season’s first meeting.
Jay Cutler will need to play better against the Packers if the Bears even think about having a chance to win. He has averaged 2 interceptions a game against the Packers in his career.
Keys for Green Bay:
- Feed of emotion – This will be one of the most emotional nights in a long time at Lambeau Field with three of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game together at the same time. If the crowd is as crazy as they have been in the past the team should have no problem feeding of the energy of the crowd during the game.
- Start fast – Last week against the Vikings the Packers were able to get on the board early and often even though it was with field goals they were moving the ball well. With the energy in the stadium on Thursday, if Rodgers can get an early score the game might be over quick.
- Pressure Cutler – In week one the Packers weren’t able to get a ton of pressure on Jay Cutler, but if they can play like they did last week with six sacks he will make the ill-advised throw into coverage.
Keys for Chicago:
- Quiet Crowd – As much as Packers fans hate the Bears it will be a tough task, but if the Bears can march down the field and score or hold the Packers to three and outs the crowd won’t be as into the game and it will be a calm environment of the Bears.
- Pressure Rodgers – Last week against the Vikings Rodgers was able to get away from the pocket and make some great throws, but if the Bears have outside contain or a spy on him it will be tough for Aaron to escape the pocket and make his throws.
- Establish run game – If Matt Forte plays or not the Bears need to run the ball if they plan on having a chance of winning and if they are unable to run it will be a long day for the Bears offense.
This should be a good divisional game for both teams, but with Brett Favre and Bart Starr in attendance I think Green Bay will dominate.
My prediction Green Bay 42 – Chicago 10
Week 12 Picks
Lions over Eagles
Panthers over Cowboys
Chiefs over Bills
Bengals over Rams
Texans over Saints
Buccaneers over Colts
Jaguars over Chargers
Jets over Dolphins
Falcons over Vikings
Redskins over Giants
Raiders over Titans
Cardinals over 49ers
Seahawks over Steelers
Patriots over Broncos
Browns over Ravens
(MVP picks in bold)
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