LAS VEGAS | Bears coach Marc Trestman spent enough time in Canada that he should know a thing or two about Boxing Day. And the holiday wasn't good to the Bears on Thursday.
Faced with a win-and-in scenario Sunday at home against their biggest rival, the Packers, the Bears found out Thursday that Green Bay will bring back Aaron Rodgers at quarterback for the regular-season finale.
Yes, the same Rodgers the Bears put on the sidelines for seven weeks when a sack broke his collarbone in early November. And if you've been living in a cave, it's the same Rodgers that has made a career of beating up the Bears in the same way his predecessor, Brett Favre, did for years. The same Rodgers who has made a living of boxing the Bears in a bad way.
The Packers went 2-4-1 without Rodgers, which was just enough to keep them alive – mostly because the Lions and Bears faltered at all the wrong times. But before he went down, they were 5-2 and averaged more than 30 points a game.
Now they get to play a horrendous Bears defense that gave up 55 points last week. With their stud QB. On national TV. With a chance to go to the playoffs.
If you're thinking this doesn't bode well for the Bears, you are probably right. The Bears can keep up offensively for sure, but the defense will have to come to play if the Bears want to win the NFC North and play in January – which would be a home game against a wild-card team.
At that point, hey, anything can happen, as we've seen in past years. But it all starts Sunday with the defense, or things could be over by halftime like last week.
Jacksonville (4-11) +11.5 (45.5) at COLTS (10-5)
MattE's pick: Colts 27-17.
Detroit (7-8) +3 (52) at Minnesota (4-10-1)
MattE's pick: Vikings 31, Lions 23.
Carolina (11-4) -6.5 (45.5) at Atlanta (4-11)
MattE's pick: Panthers 27, Falcons 24.
Baltimore (8-7) +6 (44.5) at Cincinnati (10-5)
MattE's pick: Bengals 24, Ravens 20.
Cleveland (4-11) +7 (44) at Pittsburgh (7-8)
MattE's pick: Steelers 31, Browns 20.
Houston (2-13) +7 (44) at Tennessee (6-9)
MattE's pick: Titans 34, Texans 17.
N.Y. Jets (7-8) +5.5 (41) at Miami (8-7)
MattE's pick: Dolphins 23, Jets 17.
Washington (3-12) +3.5 (46) at N.Y. Giants (6-9)
MattE's pick: Giants 31, Redskins 20.
Buffalo (6-9) +9 (47) at New England (11-4)
MattE's pick: Patriots 34, Bills 27.
Green Bay (7-7-1) -3 (52.5) at BEARS (8-7)
MattE's pick: Packers 34, Bears 27.
Denver (12-3) -12 (53.5) at Oakland (4-11)
MattE's pick: Broncos 34, Raiders 24.
Kansas City (11-4) +9.5 (45) at San Diego (8-7)
MattE's pick: Chargers 27, Chiefs 20.
St. Louis (7-8) +10.5 (42.5) at Seattle (12-3)
MattE's pick: Seahawks 34, Rams 20.
Tampa Bay (4-11) +12.5 (47) at New Orleans (10-5)
MattE's pick: Saints 37, Bucs 17.
San Francisco (11-4) -1 (42.5) at Arizona (10-5)
MattE's pick: 49ers 23, Cardinals 20.
Philadelphia (9-6) -6.5 (52.5) at Dallas (8-7)
MattE's pick: Eagles 34, Cowboys 20.
Last week: 9-7 straight up, 8-8 against the spread. Season: 150-89-1 (.628) straight up, 123-107-10 (.535) against the spread.