Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Pick & Prediction JANUARY 7th 2024

Green Bay can clinch a playoff berth with a victory against visiting Chicago on Sunday afternoon in Green Bay, Wis.

The Packers (8-8) have won five of their past seven games to gain control of their playoff fate. They are coming off a 33-10 win on the road against the Minnesota Vikings last week and only the Bears can block Green Bay from claiming a wild-card spot.

One more win to close the regular season will send quarterback Jordan Love and his teammates into the postseason for the first time since the 2021 season. The Packers went 8-9 a season ago and missed a chance to reach the playoffs after losing the regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions.

Love draws a much-improved Chicago defense than the one he lit up in Week 1 back in September. Since Week 11, the Bears have 16 takeaways and allowed fewer than 20 points four times. The Bears lead the NFL in interceptions.

While Packers coach Matt LaFleur said the Bears would “love nothing more” than to eliminate Green Bay from the postseason picture, Love said the Packers won’t need last season’s Week 18 loss as fuel for this weekend.

“I don’t even think we need to use that,” Love said. “I think this team is motivated enough — just the situation we have to get in the playoffs — and how bad we want that.

“Like I said, just with the season we’ve had — bumps along the road — we’ve put ourselves in a position (to reach the playoffs). I think everybody is very motivated.”

Chicago (7-9) would love to spoil the playoff hopes of their biggest rival in the NFC North. Despite losing eight of their first 11 games, the Bears have continued to battle under coach Matt Eberflus, and they have won four of their past five games.

But the Packers are 5-0 against Chicago since quarterback Justin Fields took over at quarterback.

The regular-season finale will offer another chance for Fields to try to clarify questions about his future. Fields has thrown for 2,414 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, with nine interceptions, to go with 630 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and the Bears must decide whether to stick with him as their starter in 2024 or draft a top quarterback.

Fields said he couldn’t wait to square off against Green Bay.

“It’s going to be a fun environment to walk into their home field,” Fields said. “I know their fans are going to be loud — because there’s not much to do in Green Bay except watch football — but it’s going to be a great environment for us to play in and hopefully have a great game and get the (win).”

Love’s future isn’t certain despite his recent success.

Love has passed for 3,843 yards and 30 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions, in 16 starts this season. He has 248 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Both teams are dealing with a bevy of injuries as the regular season concludes.

Bears tight end Cole Kmet did not practice to begin the week because of a knee injury and is listed as questionable after returning to full practice Friday.

Wideout Darnell Mooney (concussion) has been ruled out, while running back Khalil Herbert (back/personal), offensive lineman Lucas Patrick (calf), defensive back Kyler Gordon (calf) and long snapper Patrick Scales (foot) are all questionable for Chicago. Defensive back Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) is doubtful.

Packers running back A.J. Dillon missed practice because of thumb and neck injuries and was ruled out along with safety Rudy Ford (hamstring).

Linebacker Isaiah McDuffie (concussion/neck) is doubtful, while tight end Luke Musgrave (kidney) and a trio of wide receivers — Christian Watson (hamstring), Jayden Reed (chest) and Dontayvion Wicks (chest) — are among the Packers listed as questionable.

Packers defensive back Jaire Alexander is back with the team after serving a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Alexander said he learned from his penalty, which stemmed from taking part in the coin toss after anointing himself a game captain one week earlier and nearly botching it.

“That won’t happen again,” Alexander said.

–Field Level Media

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