The Bears simply cannot afford to lose to the Packers this Sunday. There are differing opinions on whether or not they should rest their players. Lovie Smith needs to prepare this team as if these are the playoffs not because they are the Bears' biggest rivals, but because the Packers are a playoff caliber team.
Packer will be dangerous in the playoffs
For teams to be successful in the playoffs, they need a top-notch
quarterback that can lead the way. Look at the teams that have clinched
in the NFC - Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick. With the Giants and
Packers fighting for their playoff lives, who would you rather face, Eli
Manning or Aaron Rodgers? Most people would say Rodgers. The Bears were
in the game for three quarters against the Giants and can keep Eli
under wraps. Rodgers is playing like he's from another planet. If the
Bears lose to the Packers and win their first round game, they could very
well face Rodgers again for the NFC Conference Championship.
What about the safety of the players?
If the Bears go into the game not wanting to get their players injured,
they probably will get injured. The Bears have been fortunate enough to
go the entire season without sustaining major injuries to key players.
What isn't being talked about, and could be related to their health, is
that the Bears have depth on their side. Every unit, not including the
quarterbacks, have more than competent backups that can play at a high
What about Jay Cutler?
The offensive line has played well since the bye. The emergence of Matt
Forte and the ground game has taken the pressure off Cutler and kept
defenses off-balanced. Before the bye, we all know that Cutler was on
his back for more than half the time but we also saw how tough he is
too. Cutler is no Matthew Stafford. We shouldn't be worried about him.
Shouldn't the Bears rest their players?
The Bears are healthy. Chances to go the Super Bowl and win are never
guaranteed. After the Bears loss in Super Bowl XLI, plenty of us thought
they would make it again the following year if not shortly after. Brian
Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and a number of veterans know
their time is running out and they might not get another chance. After
this week, the Bears will have a bye. After Super Bowl XLV, they'll have
the entire offseason to rest.
The Bears need to treat this game like a playoff game, the only
difference here is that for the Bears, it's a double elimination
tournament. For the Packers, it's one and done.
If the Bears do lose, it gives them a chance to work out the flaws and refocus. If the Bears win, it gives them an opportunity to go into the playoffs with their heads up high and their eyes set on the GSH Trophy and the Lombardi Trophy.