Chicago Bears: Storylines abound in NFC North title game

The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. Two teams that make up the longest-standing rivalry in the NFL, in addition to one of the greatest rivalries in American sports. This will be the 188th matchup between the teams, which is just one of the multiple headlines in this game.

Chicago Bears looking to rebound after dreadful outing

First things first, the Bears need to perform much better after last week’s blowout. The magnitude of this game Sunday alone should be enough to motivate the team to play with a chip on their shoulder on both sides of the ball. They will have to play within themselves like never before, and every possession needs to be handled with the utmost care.

Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs

Briggs needs to impose his will early if the Bears want to clinch the division Sunday (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images)

Lance Briggs having a game under his belt will be sure to help the Bears’ defensive woes in terms of having him back in the flow of things (he played 59 of 65 defensive snaps last Sunday), and hopefully he will have improved with a full week of practice and conditioning. The other guys, especially the rookies, are in need of his help as well so having him back in time for the biggest game of these young kids’ NFL careers will be huge.

What the return of Lacy and Rodgers means for the Bears

Cue the Star Wars “Imperial March” music. Like the arrival of Darth Vader on the Death Star instilled fear into the Jedi, the timely return of Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers puts fear in the heart of Bears ¬†fans. Coach Mike McCarthy also relayed that running back Eddie Lacy is expected to play after leaving the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a sprained ankle, but the Pack expect him to be ready to go this Sunday. In the Week nine matchup between the two teams, Rodgers was only in for a short time (in which he went 1-of-2 for 27 yards) before defensive end Shea McClellin knocked him out of the game with a broken collarbone.

Lacy, however, was a wrecking ball, as he torched the Bears for 150 yards with a touchdown on 22 carries. James Starks also added a touchdown, and the duo took advantage of every opportunity they had to make the Bears look like a second-rate defense. The defense has suffered its fair share of breakdowns this season, the most embarrassing against the St. Louis Rams when rookie running backs Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham combined for two touchdowns and 196 yards. Since Lacy is hampered with an ankle injury, it will be interesting to see if he can be as effective as he was in the previous meeting.

Bears’ fans hope Rodgers is rusty in his first game back, but after all, it is Aaron Rodgers we are talking about so I would not be surprised is he comes out firing on all cylinders. Jay Cutler will need to overcome the rust from his first game back and play mistake-free football, especially considering his current job status is up in the air after this season.

It’s simple. Win, or go home. One team to represent the NFC North in the journey to the Super Bowl. Sunday evening, we will find out who wants it more.