Will it be Packers or Bears? Will it matter?
Yes, having Aaron Rodgers return from his broken collarbone—coincidentally an injury that occurred in the last contest between the two teams—to play in Sunday's winner-take-all Packer-Bear game gives Green Bay a better chance of winning the NFC's North Division crown.
After all, Rodgers' right arm gives the Packer offense a chance to stretch the field and Bear defenders in a way backup QB Matt Flynn could not. It also gives the Packers the potential to move the football more consistently and keep Green Bay's defense off the field.
That doesn't mean, however, that I'm confident the Packers will prevail. Remember how shaky Green Bay's offensive line has been in pass protection this year. Remember, too, how bad our defense is and the crowd of defenders—including Clay Matthews—on the injury/inactive list.
Besides that, this season Chicago has some of the best receivers in the game.
Also consider the adage that a wounded bear is a dangerous bear. The Bears were humiliated last week at Philadelphia in a 52-11 thumping. These guys are proud professionals. Often when a team is embarrassed by its performance one week, it comes back with renewed fight and vigor the next week.
Of course, we can hope that Chicago's wild card—quarterback Jay Cutler—continues that history of bad performances against the Pack. I'm not surprised that some Bear fans are clambering for Josh McCown to start. Remember how Green Bay's defense made McCown look like an all-pro the last time these teams met?
Like all Packer fans, I hope the return of Rodgers helps Green Bay rise to the top. I just wouldn't bet against the Bears.
Some Packer fans point to the 2010 season, when Green Bay stumbled around and was similarly decimated by injuries but won its last two games to sneak into the playoffs, then kept right on winning to a Super Bowl championship. Don't count on that happening this year. Rodgers is returning to the party a little too late to be fully effective, and that Green Bay defense isn't what it was then.
What do you think?