How teams feel about winning the NFC North:
Bears: “We don’t want it.”
Lions: “Vacation and golf sounds better.”
Vikings: “Our record explains how we feel.”
It’s the most ridiculous race for a playoff spot I’ve witness in my 17 years of life. The Lions who have so much talent and had a two game cushion after beating the Bears at Solider Field in week 10 are now eliminated from playoff contention after losing two straight. The Bears who decided to go back to Cutler instead of MVP candidate (kidding, but not really) Josh McCown got rolled by the Eagles after the Packers coughed one up (literally) before hand. So now you have the Packers and Bears at Solider Field next Sunday for the NFC North “Crown.”
This game is going to be extremely over-hyped especially in Chicago and part of it should be. It’s the end of a race that has been more of a laughing stock than riveting battle royal, it’s between two rivals that have decided the North title for the past four years and probably the number one story being the collarbone of Aaron Rodgers.
Yet both Wild Card (Saints/ Cardinals) teams are superior to these two no matter who wins. The Packers without Rodgers is like Han Solo without the Millennium Falcon and its hyper-drive system which gets Han out of every bad situation in
the Star Wars Saga (sorry I’m a nerd for those movies) by going into “warp speed.” Instead the Packers are stuck in the middle of an asteroid field dodging them left and right hoping they can come out of it in one piece. Except they haven’t. Besides the injury to Rodgers, Clay Mathews is battling a reoccurring thumb injury, Eddie Lacy hurt his ankle again Sunday and Linebacker Brad Jones is hurt for the 6,000th time. Yet somehow and some way the Cardiac Pack have a shot to make the playoffs.
Then there’s the Bears. A team who has the biggest problem of them all. They are the ones keeping themselves out of the playoffs. People will point at Cutler and say he is the problem but it lies within the man calling the shots, Marc Trentsman. I may not be a professional at reading people but he doesn’t come across as the guy who is going to give dramatic speeches when his team needs it most. Last night would have been a good night to bring out that side. These guys are getting paid yes, so they can motivate themselves but watching a 54-11 beat down last night I question what exactly the Bears were doing all week to prepare for this game. Worst part of all down 21-0 in the first quarter and the team has already packed it in and quit. Brady and the Pats came back against the leagues best team in Denver and the Packers miraculously beat the Cowboys (I know it’s the Cowboys) after being down 26-3 at half. Yet they looked defeated.
Being extremely biased here to the Packers of course , I will say I respect this Bears team much more than past ones because they are winning games like normal NFL teams and not by playing 3rd string quarterbacks or winning on wacky special team plays (That 2010 team that lost to the Packers in the NFC Championship Game drove me nuts) but on offense, with arguably the best 1-2 punch of wide-outs in the League. Yet they continue to derail themselves, will it happen Sunday?
If Matt Flynn plays instead of Rodgers, the Bears chances go up considerably. But Rodgers being back brings a great need of energy to a Packers offense and defense that has to give everything it has every game just to keep in it. With Rodgers out, the Packers have been winning in ways that the, dare I say it, Bears used too. Regardless, the Packers running game that has been non-existent for the past decade is now one of the best in the NFL thanks to Lacy and Starks shouldering the load for much of the season. Aaron is scratching to be back out there, he does not like the Bears and neither do they like him. He is the wall in front of the Bears in sustaining any type of division dominance. I was really hoping it didn’t have to come down this, but of course it has too.
Bears vs. Packers Sunday at 3:25 pm. For a playoff spot neither really deserve.