Bears vs. Packers Prediction: Can Bears end the Packers' playoff hopes?
Dan Powers - USA Today Sports

Bears vs. Packers Prediction: Can Bears end the Packers' playoff hopes?

by - Senior Writer -

It all comes down to this as the Chicago Bears' regular season comes to an end against their bitter rivals, the Green Bay Packers. This wasn't the season the Bears and their fans were hoping for, as they will be missing the playoffs again despite improving by four or possibly even five games.

Had this team not blown three leads in the fourth quarter earlier this season, they would be a playoff team potentially battling for the division title this weekend. Regardless, this is where things stand, as the Bears have an excellent opportunity to end their season on a high note and get set to prepare for 2024.

It's no secret how storied this rivalry is, but going back the past 30 years the Packers have dominated this and it isn't close. From Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and potentially Jordan Love, things have been sunshine and roses for the Packers over the past three decades while the Bears hang on to any sense of past success against this team.

While one team has a shot at making the playoffs win or lose, and the other is out, this has the potential to be one of the better Packers/Bears games in quite a while, as there will be a lot on the line at Lambeau Field Sunday.

Here are some things to look for as the Bears close out their season:

Time to play spoiler

The only thing better than a win this weekend would be for the Bears to be in the postseason and have a chance to make the Superbowl. One of those things can't happen, but the other can, as the Bears can crush the hearts of the Packers this weekend with a rare Lambeau Field win.

When you look at the past six weeks, you could make the case that these are the hottest teams in the NFC to close out the season and could be teams that no one wants to see. The Packers right now are a bit more dangerous than the Bears, but with the way Chicago's defense has looked over the past two months, nothing will come easy for Love and the Packers.

The easiest path for the Packers to make the playoffs would be to win, and the rest can take care of itself. However, a loss can make things interesting as the tie-breakers would have to be put in place. Win or lose, the Packers have a great chance to make the playoffs, but the Bears could really make things interesting with a massive win against their hated rivals.

Is this it for Justin Fields?

One of the biggest questions, or should I say stories entering the 2024 offseason is whether or not Justin Fields will be back as the Bears QB next season. With the team holding the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and guys like Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Michael Penix Jr, and Jayden Daniels as possible QB options, the Bears are going to be faced with the tough decision of whether or not Fields has done enough to stay in Chicago.

If it was up to the players, especially DJ Moore, they don't want Fields to go as the locker room loves and respects him and feels he is better suited for this offense than an incoming rookie. Fields also loves the city and has made it a point to let the Bears organization know about his desire to stay. However, he is smart enough to know this is a business, and should the Bears move on, he is ready for what comes next.

If the decision to keep Fields was based solely on wins and losses, then his future with the Bears doesn't look great. However, if you are basing it on his overall improvements and developments, this season has been a success. He has been much more consistent as a passer, is making more intelligent decisions, and has turned the ball over less frequently in the past.

All that together has led to seven wins, with the potential of an eighth win on Sunday. Fields has also displayed the leadership the Bears have been hoping he would and has done more than enough to remain the starter after this season.

Youth vs. Youth

The key mathcup in this one will be the young receiving group of the Packers going against the Youthful Bears defensive backs. It's no secret that the Packers' offense was a work in progress for most of the season, which should be the case when you have the youngest offense in the league.

However, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Malik Heath, Tucker Kraft, and several others have turned what looked to be a struggling offense into one of the best offenses in the game, and more will be on the horizon as these kids gain more experience.

On the flip side, you have Pro bowler Jaylon Johnson, veteran Eddie Jackson and young studs Kyler Gordon and Jaquon Brisker anchoring the Bears secondary with rookie Tyrique Stevenson getting involved. Like the Packers, the first half of the season was a struggle for this group, but a lot of that had to deal with the Bears lack of a pass rush.

Insert Montez Sweat, and suddenly, the Bears defense has a pass rush to take the pressure off their back end. The results have been staggering as the Bears lead the NFL with 21 interceptions over their past six games and are now top three in the NFL in total interceptions. For the Bears to stop Love and the Packers this weekend, their secondary will need to continue to play well as their youth vs. the Packers youth, who will be battling it out for years.

Prediction: BEAR DOWN

It has been a while since a Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers game had this much at stake for the season's final game, but here we are. The only thing that would make it better would be if both teams were battling for a playoff spot instead of just one. Regardless, the Bears can finish the season strong and potentially end any hopes of the Packers making it into the playoffs.

Ironically, the Packers were in this same position last season when they welcomed in the Detroit Lions on Sunday night to close out week 18. Everyone knows how that one ended as the Lions sent the Packers home for good while that win seemed to jumpstart them into what they have become now.

Could we see a bit of Deja Vu this weekend? I think so, as the Bears differ from the team they were in week one. They will be more prepared than in that game, their defense will be much better, and their offense will finally live up to their potential. Look for Chicago to finish their season strong with a massive 21-20 win to head into the offseason.

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