The Chicago Bears have lost six of their last seven trips to Lambeau Field but stand to spoil a special night for the Green Bay Packers and remain in the NFC wild card race in Thanksgiving night’s division showdown.
Despite a dreadful recent record at Lambeau, the rejuvenated Bears (4-6) will welcome running back Matt Forte and receiver Alshon Jeffery back to the lineup and seek their third victory in the last four games.
But Chicago will play in front of an energized Packers’ crowd on the same night they honor one of the team’s greatest players. Green Bay will retire former All-Pro quarterback Brett Favre’s No. 4 and place him in Lambeau’s esteemed Ring of Honor during halftime with Hall of Famer Bart Starr also expected to be on hand.
The Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers are riding high after snapping a three-game slide with a 30-13 victory over Minnesota to take back first-place in the NFC North. Shaking off a shoulder injury that somewhat limited his production during the losing streak, Rodgers rattled off two touchdown passes and running back Eddie Lacy returned to form with his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.
It was also a big game for the Packers defense, which held formidable foe and running back Adrian Peterson to only 45 yards and 3.5 yards per carry despite ranking No. 22 overall against the run this season.
Green Bay’s offense might be firing on all cylinders and ready to challenge for one of the NFC’s top two playoff seeds, but the Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler are desperate to string together victories to stay in the wild card hunt.
Chicago’s one of six 4-6 squads in the NFC, and with either Green Bay or Minnesota likely to wear the division crown, the Bears best shot at a return to the postseason is the wild card. Cutler and the Bears especially need wins within the conference to help their poor 1-5 mark in the NFC.
But the return of Forte and Jeffery could be just the boon Chicago needs. Jeffery missed his fifth game of the season in Week 11 due to groin and shoulder injuries, but despite his limited appearances he still leads the Bears with 515 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Forte went down with a sprained MCL in his right knee in Week 8’s three-point loss to Minnesota and has sat out ever since, but his presence could be just what Chicago needs to topple Green Bay. In the season opener, Forte torched the Packers for 141 rushing yards and a touchdown in a 31-23 loss.
The Bears have relied heavily on rookie running back Jeremy Langford in Forte’s absence and he’s proved invaluable to Culter and the offense. Langford’s gained 170 of his 250 rushing yards in the last three games, and pulled down 13 receptions for 196 yards and another score.
Betting Odds: Green Bay -9
Over/under: 46.5 points
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Live Online: SNF All Access