2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Packers' Rodgers back, to start Bears game

By GENARO C. ARMAS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-26 14:17

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will return to start Sunday's game for the NFC North title against the Chicago Bears.

Coach Mike McCarthy announced Thursday that Rodgers will be back after missing seven games because of a left collarbone injury.

Green Bay (7-7-1) is 2-5-1 since Rodgers went down during the first series of a 27-20 loss Nov. 4 to Chicago. But the Packers have managed to hang on with a shot to win a third straight division title with a victory over the Bears at Soldier Field.

''We're preparing for the Chicago Bears with Aaron Rodgers as our starting quarterback,'' McCarthy said.

He broke the news to the team Thursday morning before practice.

The Packers have been riddled by injuries. Linebacker Clay Matthews is out again with a right thumb injury. Running back Eddie Lacy is hobbled by an ankle injury, though McCarthy is optimistic about the rookie's chances to go Sunday.

''I feel Eddie is in good place,'' McCarthy said. ''I expect him to play.''

Green Bay has also gone the majority of the season without tight end Jermichael Finley (neck) and playmaking receiver Randall Cobb (leg).

Still, the Packers managed to start 5-2 despite the injuries with Rodgers leading the offense.

Things changed drastically after the 2011 NFL MVP got hurt after being sacked while scrambling out of the pocket in the Week 9 loss to Chicago at Lambeau Field. The Packers went on a five-game winless skid, shuffling through three more starting quarterbacks.

Green Bay then won two straight with backup Matt Flynn before falling 38-31 last week to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Losses by Chicago and the Detroit Lions set up the winner-take-all finale Sunday with the Bears for the division and a home playoff game the following weekend.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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