NFL 2015 Thanksgiving preview: Chicago at Green Bay

November 26, 2015

The Thanksgiving holiday concludes with an NFC North rivalry as the Green Bay Packers (7-3) host the Chicago Bears (4-6) on NBC (8:30 PM ET).  The Packers and Bears will play in their 36th and 34th Thanksgiving games, respectively.

The Packers will host their first Thanksgiving Day game since 1923, when the team defeated the Hammond Pros 19-0 at Bellevue Park.

"I think it's great, and it will be great for our fans," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy about hosting a Thanksgiving Day game at home. "The first time we've had a Thanksgiving night game here at Lambeau Field. I think it will definitely be a special night."

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has 14 touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 112.4 passer rating in seven career games on Thursday. In his past three starts against the Bears, Rodgers has 13 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 146.7 passer rating.

The Packers defeated the Vikings, 30-13, at Minnesota in Week 11 to improve to 7-3 and move back into a tie with the Vikings for first place in the NFC North.

“That was a real good team win,” said McCarthy. “I feel good about the way we played in all three phases. We’ve still got things to improve on and we’ve got to turn around quickly and get ready for Chicago.”

Rodgers passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings. Wide receiver James Jones had six receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown in the game. Jones now has seven touchdown receptions this season, which is tied for second in the NFC. Packers running back Eddie Lacy added 100 rushing yards in the victory, his first 100-yard rushing performance this season.

Heading into this week’s matchup, Rodgers has led the Packers to a 5-1 record when he starts on Thursdays, including a 4-0 record against NFC North opponents. Since 2009, Rodgers is among the leaders in many passing categories on Thursdays, ranking first in the NFC in completion percentage (70.9), touchdown passes (13) and passer rating (113.4). He is also fifth in the NFC with 1,531 passing yards on Thursdays during that span.

Adding to the excitement, the Packers will honor former quarterback Brett Favre during a halftime ceremony. Favre’s name and retired No. 4 jersey will be unveiled on Lambeau Field's north facade during halftime of Thursday’s game. Favre, who played in four Thanksgiving Day games in his career, is one of six Packers legends to have their number retired, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Don Hutson (No. 14), Tony Canadeo (No. 3), Bart Starr (No. 15), Ray Nitschke (66), and Reggie White (92).

Chicago enters Week 12 following a 17-15 loss to Denver.

“We can’t afford to hang our heads,” said Chicago guard Matt Slauson. “We aren’t out of this by any stretch. We just need to keep on fighting and keep working.”

The Bears will play on Thanksgiving in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1980-81 after losing to Detroit on Thanksgiving last season. Last Thanksgiving, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and tight end Martellus Bennett had eight catches for 109 yards.

The Bears played on Thanksgiving during the franchise’s first 19 years of existence (1920-38) and are 16-15-2 all-time on the holiday.

On Thanksgiving Day in 1925, a crowd of 36,000 – then the largest in pro football history – watched the Chicago Bears play the Chicago Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

Cutler aims for his fourth straight game on Thursday with at least two touchdown passes.

“We have to come in and flip the switch pretty quickly,” said Cutler. “We have to move on. It is part of the game. We have a Thursday night game against Green Bay and hopefully we’ll be energized for it this week on Thanksgiving.”

Jeffery, who has 15 catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games on Thursday, seeks his third consecutive Thursday game with a touchdown catch.

Bears rookie running back Jeremy Langford has five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in his past five games. His five rushing touchdowns are tied for the second-most among NFL rookies this season.  He will play his first Thanksgiving game.



TE Martellus Bennett (ribs), RB Ka'Deem Carey (concussion), WR Eddie Royal (knee)

RB Matt Forte (knee), WR Alshon Jeffery (groin), S Sherrod Martin (neck), LB Pernell McPhee (knee), LB LaRoy Reynolds (knee), S Antrel Rolle (knee)


WR Jared Abbrederis (rib, chest), WR Ty Montgomery (ankle)

S Micah Hyde (hip), C Corey Linsley (ankle), DE Mike Pennel (quadricep), CB Damarious Randall (hamstring)

WR Davante Adams (ankle), T David Bakhtiari (knee), T Bryan Bulaga (knee), S Morgan Burnett (ankle), LB Jay Elliott (ankle), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), G T.J. Lang (shoulder), LB Clay Matthews (ankle, knee), RB Aaron Ripkowski (ankle), G Josh Sitton (knee)

By Staff of and news services

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