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Bears and Packers Spurred by Losses

Coming into Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field, both the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers are reeling from losses that really shouldn’t have been. The Bears missed several opportunities to end the winning ways of the Tennessee Titans, while two safeties and a missed 52-yarder spelled doom for the Pack against Minnesota.

The question is which team has the greatest desire for victory. The Bears are longtime rivals of the Packers, with a 90-79-6 overall record that favors the Bears. Chicago has outscored Green Bay 119-70 in the past five meetings, and that’s significant, considering that all those meetings were during the Favre days. Of course, the Pack playing against Bears named Brian Griese, Adrian Peterson, Cedric Benson, and Muhsin Muhammad, which tells me that stats about games in the past really don’t mean anything at all.

If A-Rod can figure out which end zone is his, the green and yellow stand a good chance in this matchup. Ryan Grant still desperately needs to break free and become a threat for the long run, just to force defenses to cover a little deeper on first down. With first down runs by Grant being a virtual certainty most of the time, defenses have been very effective at containing him.

That’s a coaching problem. Mike McCarthy and crew need to reach a little deeper into the book of tricks to give Grant a better shot. The risk of Brett Favre passing at any time, on any down, forced defenses to open up, and that led to Grant’s success last year. McCarthy isn’t offering that type of support this year.

However, Chicago is a serious threat. At 5-4, there is every reason to believe that the Bears can win the division, even with Minnesota straining at the bit. Green Bay, on the other hand, has to win this one to even have a chance. Winning here would kick the Vikings to first in the division, unless the Vikings lose to Tampa Bay, in which case there would be a three-way tie for first in the division.

This is a crucial game for Green Bay. Last week at Minnesota was pivotal and crucial, but this week is a final chance for redemption. If I can realize that, surely they can as well, and I’m looking for the boys to be hungry and mean. I’m expecting another game with the winning score in the high 20s, and I’m hoping the Pack will win by 4 or 5.

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