We're Black and Blue All Over:
As I alluded to Tuesday, we're planning a second opportunity for live chat-like interaction this week considering the magnitude of Sunday's game at Soldier Field.
We hit the SportsNation crowd Tuesday. On Thursday, I'll conduct a casual chat via Twitter using the hashtag "#PackBearsChat." You'll get a role in deciding its direction, and here's how it will work:
Sometime today, tweet me at @espn_nfcnblog with what you think will be the most important deciding factor in the game. The Green Bay Packers' run game? The Chicago Bears' defensive takeaways? The matchup of Brandon Marshall and Tramon Williams?
I'll pick the top three factors and use them to structure a chat that will begin on Twitter at noon ET/11 a.m. CT on Thursday. I'll throw out some thoughts on the issues, await your responses and we'll go from there.
If you can't make it, we'll pull every tweet with the "#PackBearsChat" hashtag into an archive and post them on the blog. It's a variation off what AFC West blogger Bill Williamson and I did a few weeks ago. It's new. We'll try it and see how it works. I hope you enjoy.
Let's take our morning tour while we have a moment:
Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains what makes Packers coach Mike McCarthy so positive. McCarthy: "I feel the ability to grow the positive is the best way to accomplish things."
The Packers miss linebacker Clay Matthews and "have no shot at the Super Bowl without him," writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he is "disappointed" that Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) is unlikely to play Sunday, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Rodgers: "I like him being out there. I enjoy the competition with him. It's a competitive rivalry that exists between our teams and between him and I individually. I enjoy the banter back and forth and enjoy the way he plays the game. I think he plays the game hard within the rules and he's a heck of a competitor, who has picked me off a couple too many times. I wish him the best and hope he gets healthy. He has been playing really well this year. That's impressive to see because he has been around for a while."
Lovie Smith might be the best fit for the Bears next season, writes Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune.
Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times breaks down the differences between Rodgers and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com looks at who is up and who is down on the Bears' roster.
Secondary is the Detroit Lions' biggest need this offseason, but the draft might not supply an elite cornerback or safety, writes Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.
The Lions and Arizona Cardinals have combined for 14 consecutive losses, notes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
Beating the Cardinals this week could save some jobs, writes Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier's job should be secure, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
The Vikings could go 10-6 and reach the playoffs, according to former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton via the St. Paul Pioneer Press.