Bears

After a decade of battles, the Bears still enjoy the chance to line up against Adrian Peterson

After a decade of battles, the Bears still enjoy the chance to line up against Adrian Peterson

You don't need to remind the Bears' defense who they're lining up against next week. 

It's been four years since the last time Peterson last played against the Bears, when he ran for 86 yards in a 38-17 Week 14 win. 

One torn ACL tear plus two trades later, AD will be Washington's feature back when they meet up at Fedex Field for Monday night football. Peterson's experienced a bit of a career resurgance in D.C., as he rushed for 1042 yards (as a 33-year old) with the team last year. He was a healthy scratch in Week 1, but with starting back Derius Guice out for the next couple months, Peterson's reemerged as a part of their offense.

And even though most of the Bears' defense came to Chicago after Peterson left – the only player from that 2015 loss that's still here is cornerback Kyle Fuller – they're still relishing the opportunity to go up against a first-ballot Hall of Famer. 

"I just like playing against great players," linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "He loves the game of football and has been doing it for a while – [13] years is a long time. He’s still got the juice to take it home, so any time I can play against him, it’s an honor and a privilege." 

"Guy’s been running the ball the way he runs it for many, many years," added Roquan Smith. "So I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be great for our defense, it’ll get us all better." 

For as long as he's been playing, Peterson's been a Bears killer. Through 13 seasons, he's: 

  • Rushed for 1,562 yards against the Bears, the 2nd-most of any team he's played (1899 vs. Green Bay) 
  • Scored 14 rushing touchdowns against the Bears, also the 2nd-most of any team (15 vs. Green Bay) 
  • Averaged 111.6 rushing yards/game against the Bears, the most of any NFC North opponent

So while many of the names, and jerseys, have changed, it wouldn't be Peterson-vs.-the-Bears without a little bit of smack talk:

"I love playing against guys with that kind of attitude, that love the game. He fits well with their scheme," Trevathan added with a smile. "I’m looking forward to shutting him down and kind of ruining his day."

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Bears to activate Akeim Hicks off IR on Saturday

Bears to activate Akeim Hicks off IR on Saturday

The return of Akiem Hicks is upon us.

In a widely expected the move, the Bears will activate Hicks off injured reserve on Saturday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Hicks will be eligible to play Sunday against the Packers.

Hicks suffered a dislocated elbow in Week 5 against the Raiders. He hit IR on Oct. 15, where players are required to spend a minimum of eight weeks before returning, per NFL rules.

The Bears defense hasn't been the same with Hicks out, and during his absence, linebackers Danny Trevathan (elbow) and Roquan Smith (torn pec) have both gone down with injuries.

Simply put, Hicks is a much-welcomed return for the Bears.

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Three keys and a prediction: Bears at Packers

Three keys and a prediction: Bears at Packers

1. Don’t let Aaron Rodgers beat you. Really! 
You’d think this goes without saying, and yet here we are, going and saying it. There’s some truth to the counter-argument, I guess: Rodgers hasn’t thrown for more than 243 yards since mid-October, and over the last 2-3 years, his QBR has leveled out well below where it was when he was tearing the souls from every other NFL team’s body. It helps when you have Aaron Jones and the 4th-ranked (DVOA) rushing attack, but I just find it hard to believe any Bears fan can look at this game and think they have a better chance to win if they let Rodgers throw the ball 40+ times. Over his career, he’s averaged more yards per game, and has more touchdown passes, against the Bears than any other NFC North opponent. Getting Akiem Hicks back, even in a limited fashion, obviously helps on both fronts. If the Bears are going to be comfortable putting the ball in someone’s hands and hoping they don’t beat them, maybe don’t make it the first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback who has a history of humiliating your franchise? 

2. Give the ball to David Montgomery and let him cook. 
Montgomery’s finding a groove, evident by the fact that he’s been given more rushes and gained more yards in each of the Bears’ last three wins. I’ve probably hammered this point a half dozen times already this season, but the Bears are 7-2 when they run the ball 20+ times. 7-2! And they’d be 8-1 if Eddy Pineiro hit the game-winning field goal against the Chargers. And while you could probably find one or two moments in most NFL games that swing the outcome, the bigger point remains: the Bears’ run game isn’t pretty, but they win when they commit. It’s also going to be like, four degrees out and the Packers’ have the 26th-ranked run defense (DVOA) in football. Run the ball! 

3. It’s just a football field – treat it like that. 
The Bears talked at length this week about how the spectacle of Week 1’s Bears-Packers game kind of got to them, and that they were disappointed with how players and coaches seemed shell-shocked for much of it. Now think back to Week 1 of 2018, when the Bears let a big halftime lead slip away. Since then, Nagy’s admitted that the moment may have been a little big for him that night, too. And frankly, there’s so much noise and so many narrative retreads during Packers Week, so it’s not exactly hard to blame them. It’s a lot easier said behind a keyboard than done on a (cold, so damn cold) field, but if the Bears want to find themselves in bigger moments down the road, they’ll need to minimize the one coming on Sunday. 

Prediction: Bears 27, Packers 24 (OT)
I don’t think the Bears are going to make the playoffs, and I think if you got them in a moment of honesty, they’d agree and admit they’re playing these last three games for pride. That’s not a slight against them at all – they’ve looked legitimately better across the board over the last month. The Packers don’t seem like a 10-3 team to me; they’re a 7-5 team according to their Expected W-L, football’s version of baseball’s Pythagorean formula. Their best win of the season came against a Chiefs team that didn’t have Patrick Mahomes. And while this game means everything to Chicago, there is actually not a whole lot on the line for Green Bay: per FiveThirtyEight, the Packers’ odds of winning the division currently sit at 93%. A loss would drop that to 86%. There are fair gripes out there about what Nagy’s shown as a play caller though two seasons, but these types of motivational situations are where he does his best work. The Bears get their biggest win of the season, and are rewarded with a week of Pat Mahomes prep.