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Clinch the NFC North championship and beat a heated rival to do it? from zhangzk's blog

LAKE FOREST Kendall Sheffield Jersey , Ill. (AP) —  The Chicago Bears couldn’t have asked for a sweeter scenario.That’s exactly the opportunity they’re staring at when they host Aaron Rodgers and the fading Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.“It would be very exciting,” quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “We know this is a big week for us, and a lot comes with it.”Article continues below ...With six wins in the past seven games, the division championship and a playoff spot are just about in hand.A win over the Packers (5-7-1) would clinch the North for the Bears (9-4). So would a loss by Minnesota to Miami. And ties by both the Bears and the Vikings would do the trick, too.Even if they don’t clinch the division, they could still secure a playoff spot on Sunday. In that case, a tie against Green Bay — or a tie or loss by Washington against Jacksonville — would send Chicago to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 team won the NFC North.Of course, with a victory comes this added bonus: beating Green Bay. It would also give the Bears a measure of revenge for that season-opening gut punch at Lambeau Field, when Rodgers got carted off the field with a left knee injury and came back to lead the Packers from 20 down to a 24-23 victory.“It’s a special moment in my career,” Rodgers said. “It is the Bears, and the injury I was dealing with and the pain and 20-0 and coming back and winning that game. It seems a long time ago, standing here in Week 15, but that was a good moment for us. It’s a better moment when you parlay those into big-time winning seasons and championship runs, but it was a special moment for sure.”The teams’ fortunes sure have changed since.The Bears have emerged as a force in the NFC in their first season under coach Matt Nagy after four straight last-place finishes. The Packers fired Mike McCarthy in his 13th season two weeks ago and made offensive coordinator Joe Philbin the interim head coach, hoping to jolt a team in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight year.The Packers won his debut , beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-20. The Bears beat the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams 15-6 last week, with their defense squashing one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses.Here are some things to know with Chicago on the verge of securing a playoff spot and Green Bay’s hopes fading:STREAK VS. STRENGTHIt’s a case of a streak vs. strength when Rodgers faces Chicago’s turnover-happy defense. The Bears are first in the NFL in turnover margin at plus-13. Rodgers hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 4, when his pass over the middle for Jimmy Graham was deflected twice before being intercepted by Bills safety Jordan Poyer on second-and-4 from the Packers 49. It’s the only interception this season for Rodgers. Since then he’s had 368 straight attempts without an interception to set an NFL record.“Yeah, you know hopefully it stays that way,” Philbin said as he knocked on a wooden podium for good luck. The Packers are plus-2 in turnover margin http://www.falconsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-john-cominsky-jersey , tied for 14th in the league.ROAD WOESWith an 0-6 road record and eight straight losses dating to last season, the Packers sure have experienced difficulties away from Lambeau Field. That’s something they hope to change against Chicago.The Packers have won nine of the past 10 meetings overall. They also have an eight-game winning streak at Soldier Field, counting the postseason.COMFORT AT HOMEWhile the Packers have struggled on the road, the Bears are 6-1 at Soldier Field.That gives them their highest win total at home since going 6-2 in 2008. And if they beat Green Bay, the Bears would finish 7-1 at home for the first time since 2005.Also, Nagy’s nine victories are the most by a coach in his first season with the Bears since Paddy Driscoll led the 1956 team to a 9-2-1 mark.TURNOVER TIMESpeaking of turnovers, the Packers’ defense has been hit or miss when it comes to takeaways. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland accounted for both of Green Bay’s takeaways last week with an interception return for a touchdown and fumble recovery, though the latter came on a botched shotgun snap. Still, the win over the Falcons ended a two-week stretch without a takeaway.OFFENSIVE OUTPUTThe Bears would certainly welcome a better showing from Trubisky. He struggled against Los Angeles after missing back-to-back games because of a right shoulder injury, with a season-high three interceptions and a 33.3 rating that was his lowest of the year.One positive for the Bears’ offense: Jordan Howard running for a season-high 101 yards. Chris Sale pitched his latest Bronx gem, Rafael Devers went 5 for 5 with a first-inning grand slam and the Boston Red Sox held the New York Yankees to two hits during an 11-0 rout Saturday night to take back baseball’s best record.

Sale (8-4) allowed only Giancarlo Stanton’s clean single over seven innings, striking out 11. He has a 1.73 career ERA against the Yankees, best among pitchers with at least 10 starts against them since 1920. His ERA at Yankee Stadium is 1.86, second only to Seattle’s Felix Hernandez among pitchers with five starts.

Boston is a major league-leading 56-28, just ahead of the Yankees at 53-27. New York held the majors’ best mark by percentage points after winning Friday’s series opener 8-1.

Yankee Stadium hosted a season-high sellout of 47,125, and the crowd gave starter Sonny Gray (5-6) an earful after he gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings. The right-hander dropped to 0-4 with a 9.35 ERA against Boston since being acquired by New York from Oakland last season.

RANGERS 13, WHITE SOX 4

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Bartolo Colon overcame a sluggish start to earn his 245th major league win and match Dennis Martinez for the most by a pitcher from Latin America when Texas beat Chicago.

Joey Gallo and Ryan Rua homered for the Rangers, who won for the 11th time in 13 games and clinched their fifth consecutive series. Robinson Chirinos hit a three-run double in the fourth inning that put Texas ahead to stay.

The 45-year-old Colon (5-5) was done after Matt Davidson led off the sixth with a homer to center field that pulled the White Sox to 5-3.

Colon already had the most wins by a pitcher born in the Dominican Republic Qadree Ollison Jersey , having surpassed Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for that distinction with his 244th victory at Kansas City on June 18, six days before a loss at Minnesota. Colon won in his first start at home since June 6 to match Martinez, who is from Nicaragua.

White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon (1-3) allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings.

GIANTS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 0

PHOENIX (AP) – Dereck Rodriguez blanked the Diamondbacks into the seventh inning and San Francisco made it two wins in a row at Arizona.

Brandon Crawford, Andrew McCutchen and Joe Panik homered on another rough night for Shelby Miller (0-2), who struggled in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Panik’s homer, off reliever Jimmie Sherfy in the eighth, was his first since April 3, a span of 162 at-bats.

Ty Blach and Cory Gearrin completed San Francisco’s 10th shutout of the season.

The Giants have won nine of 11 to pull into a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers for second in the NL West, 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks. San Francisco can complete a three-game road sweep on Sunday.

Rodriguez (3-1), the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan ”Pudge” Rodriguez, dominated in his sixth major league start. He allowed six hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked two.

MARINERS 6, ROYALS 4

SEATTLE (AP) – Ryon Healy had four hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs to lead Seattle over Kansas City.

Felix Hernandez (8-6) gave up four consecutive hits, including a three-run homer by Mike Moustakas, to start the game. But the right-hander settled down to pitch four scoreless innings after that, helping the Mariners to a season-best sixth consecutive win.

Edwin Diaz worked a perfect ninth for his 31st save. The Mariners (53-31) are 22 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season.

Jason Hammels (2-10) lost his fifth straight, allowing six runs and 13 hits in six innings.

PADRES 4 Marquise Brown Jersey , PIRATES 3

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Wil Myers homered, doubled and drove in three runs, and rookie Joey Lucchesi threw five scoreless innings to send San Diego past Pittsburgh.

The Padres had to hold on after closer Brad Hand allowed two runs in the ninth before earning his 23rd save. Hand gave up doubles by Elias Diaz and Austin Meadows, and a triple by Gregory Polanco. The reliever then got Jordy Mercer to fly out to shallow right field, pinch-hitter Jose Osuna to foul out to right and struck out Starling Marte.

Myers, limited to 19 games this season due to injuries, homered off Trevor Williams (6-6) in the third, his second. Myers then chased the San Diegan with a two-run double to give the Padres a 4-0 lead in the fifth.

San Diego won for just the third time in 13 games.

Lucchesi (4-3) won for the first time since April 28. He was making his third start since missing five weeks with a strained right hip. The left-hander allowed one hit while striking out five and walking four.

BLUE JAYS 4, TIGERS 3

TORONTO (AP) – Justin Smoak led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a home run and Toronto handed Detroit its 11th straight loss.

Smoak connected against reliever Joe Jimenez (3-1) for his 11th homer of the season.

Seyunghwan Oh (4-2) worked one inning for the win. Randal Grichuk also homered for the Blue Jays, who have won 10 of 11 at home.

John Hicks hit a solo homer in the Detroit second off Sam Gaviglio and Nick Castellanos made it 3-0 with a two-run shot in the third, his 12th.

Randal Grichuk hit a two-run homer to cap Toronto’s three-run fifth that tied the score.

RAYS 5, ASTROS 2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Wilson Ramos drove in four runs in the first two innings against Justin Verlander, and Tampa Bay won for the seventh time in eight games.

Matt Duffy finished with three hits, including two in the first two innings, to help the Rays move to .500 (41-41) for the first time since June 1. Tampa Bay has held opponents to two runs or fewer in five straight games for only


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