You don't need me to tell you how big the Green Bay Packers' Week 18 matchup against the Chicago Bears is. You don't need me to make any mentions of Week 18 of last season. The weight of this game requires no introduction for Packers fans.
And the importance Sunday's showdown carries makes the latest injury updates provided by Matt LaFleur a real gut-punch for the Lambeau faithful.
Packers News: A.J. Dillon and Christian Watson's Injury Statuses Create Worry
LaFleur has already ruled out running back A.J .Dillon (dealing with a stinger) and has listed Christian Watson as questionable with a hamstring injury, which has kept him out of practice all week.
I don't want to guarantee that Watson won't play or anything, but taking a hamstring issue into a January game on the Frozen Tundra isn't exactly ideal — even if he tries to play it's hard to imagine Watson being remotely effective.
And of course, missing Dillon will be a big blow in the backfield.
Even if we just look at the nine games Dillon has suited up alongside Aaron Jones (ignoring his weeks as the feature back), Dillon has contributed an average of about 40 yards per game (or about 60% as much as Jones produced in those matchups). That's not an insignificant number to suddenly be missing.
The emergence of Bo Melton and Jayden Reed will certainly go a long way to softening the blow of missing Watson, but his absence will still be felt. The Packers average more yards per target when throwing to Watson (8.0) than Reed (7.6) or Romeo Doubs (7.1).
Of course, it's not all doom and gloom.
The Pack have one of the best home-field advantages in football. And on paper they are certainly a better team than the Bears. Pro Football Focus' grades have the Packers as the No. 12 team in the NFL, while the Bears are way down at No. 26.
The Packers are also favorites (albeit only by a field goal, sitting at -3 on the spread and -166 on the moneyline) according to the betting markets. We're still favored to earn a postseason spot.
Being favored won't do anything to reduce fans' stress this week though. One thing that does provide some relief is a guaranteed $150 payout whether the Packers win or lose. Just sign up through FanDuel Sportsbook through the link below (and make a minimum $10 deposit), then bet $5 on Green Bay and you're all set. Win or lose, that $150 bonus is yours. Sign up for FanDuel to cash in now before the offer expires!
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