Tonight at 7:25 Central Time the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers face off on CBS for Thursday Night Football. It's a matchup that likely billions of people will watch because not only do people love Thursday Night Football--especially when a heated playoff series like the Cubs and Dodgers is going on--but people also love watching matchups between two struggling teams with major offensive identity issues. If the simple allure of a matchup comparable to a WWI battle tank with no fuel in it vs. the first semi-operable draft of the mechanical spider from Wild Wild West doesn't win you over to watching Bears vs. Packers, here are seven compelling questions to check out in tonight's game:
1. Color Rush - Will Either Team See Red?
Tonight's game is the Color Rush, a game in which each team wears specially designed mono-colored jerseys to act like that is at all significant or different than every other game they play. The color to look out for during tonight's Bears vs. Packers Color Rush matchup is RED.
Green Bay and Chicago are ranked 22nd and 29th in total offensive points scored this season. Green Bay and Chicago are also ranked 16th and 29th in offensive touchdowns per game this season. In order to score a touchdown, you usually have to make it to the red zone first. Considering neither of these teams are able to score much, if at all, it seems unlikely anyone will be seeing red (zone) colors tonight during the Color Rush.
2. Which Aaron Rodgers Will Show Up?
Sometimes Aaron Rodgers looks like this:
Other times (and especially during the last calendar year) Aaron Rodgers looks like this:
Although Aaron Rodgers has a career 64.9 completion percentage and averages 7.9 yards per attempt, this season he averages a 60.2 completion percentage and 6.5 yards per attempt.
Whether tonight is the night Aaron breaks out of his funk or not remains to be seen, so consequentially whether he is happy from playing well or sad from playing poorly remains to be seen, too.
Also, sometimes Aaron Rodgers looks like THIS and THIS remains entirely unseen so far this season:
3. Are Any Players Actually Going to Play in the Game Tonight?
21 total players are listed on the Packers and Bears injury reports, notably including everyone on both teams. There are only 46 players on a game day roster, meaning roughly 23% of the Bears and Packers are on the injury list. 23%!!! Almost a quarter! Although this is bad news for fans of the Packers, Bears, or football in general, it's great news for local Green Bay high school students, who likely will get called onto the field to play when it's clear none of the Bears or Packers are able to do so.
4. Brian Hoyer Is Really Chicago's Quarterback? Like, Not Just for Now, but for the Year?
Brian Hoyer has played quarterback for the Chicago Bears in place of an injured Jay Cutler for most of this season, a story that dates back to 1900 when the city of Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River. For as expected and underwhelming as the Cutler-is-out story may seem--and it is--the surprise is that Hoyer has played fairly well. Actually, quite well. As ESPN reports, "With his four consecutive games of 300 yards and no interceptions, Hoyer is one game from the NFL record for successive games with those numbers. Drew Brees (who did it in 2011 and in 2015-16) and Peyton Manning (2012-13) have had five consecutive games with those stats, Elias research shows."
This isn't good just by horrible Chicago quarterback standards, it's good by all-time NFL standards. If Hoyer does well tonight--which why wouldn't he? The Packers secondary is almost entirely out with injury--he's made as good of a case as possible to be the team's starter for the rest of the year, even when Jay Cutler is ready to return. However, this is the Chicago Bears, so expect the unexpected: in two or three weeks the third-string guy or maybe someone no one has ever even heard of will be the Bears quarterback. Actually, if one of those Green Bay high school kids plays well enough, expect him or her to be the Bears quarterback.
5. What Other Positions Will the Packers Put in at Running Back?
Not only is James Starks out for a few weeks with knee surgery, but now Eddie Lacy is on IR as he will need to have ankle surgery. Last week the Packers played Ty Montgomery, who is a wide receiver, at running back, in addition to a bit of Randall Cobb, who is also a wide receiver. Being as Lacy and Starks were the only two halfbacks on the active roster, the Packers promoted practice squad running back Don Jackson and also traded for Chiefs' fourth-stringer Knile Davis. However, as the Packers try to be more creative with their stagnant, slow offense, it is not unlikely that they will throw more positional players in the mix at halfback. Tight ends, defensive ends, kick holders, kickers, long snappers, coaches--they're all fair game at this point for the Packers. Like with the Bears future quarterback situation, don't be surprised to see some surly high schoolers in at the running back position for the Packers.
6. Will the NFL's Struggling TV Ratings Go Up Tonight?
7. Is There Anything Actually Noteworthy or Compelling About this Game?
That you can watch the game on Twitter for some reason?
If you’ve ever wanted to watch a wounded version of one of sports’ greatest rivalries while also being able to see 140 character blurbs from online trolls, then watching this game on Twitter will be great for you. If you don’t want to do this, you can just watch it on CBS, where you’ll get a full dose of Big Bang Theory and NCIS commercials.
Or, if you're some weirdo who wants to watch a great game with lots of significance, check out game 5 of the NLCS between the Cubs and Dodgers on FS1 at 7:08 pm Central Time.