Packers-Bears: How we picked it
Here's how our Packers Insiders see Week 12 playing out vs. the Bears on Thursday:
WESTON HODKIEWICZ (7-3)
PACKERS 30, BEARS 24
The Packers' offense remains a work in progress despite putting up 30 points on Minnesota's defense, the most the Vikings have allowed this season. The outcome could have been skewed even greater if the Packers had punched the ball into the end zone instead of settling for five field goals. Eddie Lacy's resurgence couldn't come with better timing. He added a dimension that the offense has lacked all season. The X-factor in these games remains Green Bay's dominance over Jay Cutler, who has beaten the Packers only once since Dom Capers took over as defensive coordinator in 2009. If that wasn't enough, Green Bay hasn't lost back-to-back home games with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback since 2008.
RYAN WOOD (7-3)
PACKERS 38, BEARS 24
A year ago, quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdowns against the Bears at Lambeau Field. In the first half. The Bears' fourth-ranked passing defense is much improved since last season, when they ranked 30th in the league, but you get the feeling Rodgers may have another memorable night. The Packers, you may have heard, are honoring their fabled quarterback past Thanksgiving night. Rodgers will be in the same building as Bart Starr and Brett Favre, the three legendary quarterbacks coming together to celebrate Favre's name and number being retired on Lambeau Field's north façade. It will be one of the more memorable nights in the franchise's history, and it would sure be fitting for Rodgers to have one of his best games against the Packers' bitter rival.
PETE DOUGHERTY (8-2)
PACKERS 28, BEARS 20
The Bears have worked with new coach John Fox and his assistants for more than half a season now, so they're better than the team the Packers beat in Week 1. The Packers could be in for a letdown after their big win at Minnesota last Sunday, but chances are at least as good that they're reinvigorated by the win. Also, Dom Capers seems to have a good feel for defending Jay Cutler – in 11 regular-season games since Capers became the Packers' defensive coordinator in 2009, Cutler has a 64.4 passer rating and has thrown 14 touchdown passes to 22 interceptions. And in the end, as always, this is a matchup of Aaron Rodgers vs. Cutler. Hard not to go with Rodgers.
STU COURTNEY (7-3)
PACKERS 16, BEARS 13
Packers 42, Bears 0. That was the halftime score during last season's game between the historic rivals at Lambeau Field (it ended 55-14). Chicago would like nothing better than to atone for that embarrassment by springing an upset and spoiling Thursday night's festivities honoring Brett Favre, a notorious Bears nemesis. Unlikely, you say? Nothing can be taken for granted with a team that loses at home to the lowly Lions one week, then upsets the Vikings on the road the next. The Bears gave the Packers all they could handle in the season opener and that was their first game under new coach John Fox. Since being blown out by Seattle 26-0 in Week 3, the Bears have gone 4-3 and their largest margin of defeat has been three points. Look for the Packers to escape with a narrow, hard-fought victory.
ROBERT ZIZZO (7-3)
PACKERS 30, BEARS 20
First-year defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has this Chicago defense playing well, allowing an average of only 18 points in its past four games. But the Bears' offense, even if injured running back Matt Forte and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery return, isn't dynamic enough to outscore the Packers at Lambeau Field. Plus, you can count on Jay Cutler throwing at least one crucial interception. Green Bay gained a lot of confidence from its road victory at Minnesota; expect more of the same this week.