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Green Bay Packers cannot afford a let down against the Chicago Bears on TNF

By The Sports Xchange
Green Bay Packers cannot afford a let down against the Chicago Bears on TNF
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

GREEN BAY -- Aaron Rodgers said the scotch tasted "great" Sunday night, as his well-chronicled release to escape the misery brought by his ragged performance in the 30-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys earlier in the day.

Getting the Chicago Bears on a short week also may help lift the quarterback out of his recent slump.

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Rodgers is 13-4 as a starter against the rival Bears, including the playoffs. What's more, his cumulative passer rating of 104.3 in those 17 starts is the best efficiency mark by one player against Chicago.

Teammates anticipate Rodgers will respond well as the Packers and Bears renew the NFL's oldest rivalry in prime time Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

"Aaron is a guy who can bounce back," defensive lineman Mike Daniels said. "He's done it in the past, he's done it numerous times, and me along with the rest of us on the defensive side of the ball have all of the faith in the world in him and that offense."

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Rodgers has come under increased fire in recent weeks because of poor throws and an inordinate amount of turnovers.

The Packers had five fumbles and lost three of them Sunday as part of a season-worst four giveaways. Two of the fumbles were by Rodgers, who had a costly turnover on a keeper near the goal line in the second half and also threw an interception.

Veteran receiver Jordy Nelson said the confidence in Rodgers hasn't waned any amid the struggles by the offense, which ranks a lowly 26th in the NFL for total yards (331.8 per game).

"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the game, he's a leader of our team, he can make every play there is to be made, and everyone's got to do their part to help him out, and we'll be fine," Nelson said. "We've just got to get back to being who we are and taking care of the fundamentals and taking care of the easy stuff, and we'll get back to where we were."

Rodgers was upbeat Tuesday, perhaps knowing just how much he has tormented the Bears. In just the last four games against them, Rodgers has completed 80 of 121 passes (66.1 percent) for 1,008 yards and 14 touchdowns with only one interception for a gaudy rating of 127.0.

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"We're close," Rodgers said. "We've been making some plays at times, but not good enough consistently. We've got to clean some things up, I've got to make some better throws at times, and we've got to get on the same page a little bit more consistently, especially in the red zone. The last two weeks, we've really struggled down there, turning the ball over a few times, I have, so you've got to clean that stuff up. You can't take points off the board like that."

The Packers can ill afford a letdown against the Bears, who are in last place in the NFC North with a 1-5 record. Green Bay is in second place at 3-2 but is two games behind the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings, who technically have a three-game advantage because of their Week 2 win over the Packers.

If the Packers can get past Chicago unscathed, they will have the luxury of a long break until their next game. That doesn't come until Oct. 30 with a road game against the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons.

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