Outspoken Packers guard T.J. Lang tried to ruffle Bears die-hards with this playful Christmas tweet: "I wonder how much it will hurt Chicago fans to root for the pack this weekend …''
They don't have much choice.
Lions (4-11) on Sunday in Detroit, they understand they need help from the Packers to squeeze into the playoffs.
And for those believing in conspiracy theories, it's highly doubtful the Packers will fold against the Vikings just to keep the Bears from the postseason — unless Jermichael Finley's hatred for Lance Briggs entices him to drop the winning touchdown pass.
"We're in a position right now to control our fate to get the No. 2 seed with a win,'' Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said at his weekly news conference.
Rodgers realizes his team has something to play for despite wrapping up the NFC North two weeks ago at Soldier Field. With a victory at Minnesota, the Packers (11-4) would join the top-seeded Falcons (13-2) as the two NFC teams resting at home during the first weekend of the playoffs. An extra week of rest would give injured Packers such as safety Charles Woodson more time to heal.
But does a first-round bye really carry that much weight? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the top two seeds in each conference are 112-73 (.605) in the postseason since 1990.
The Packers are 6-3 as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in that span. They were the top seed last season but lost to the fourth-seeded Giants 37-20 at Lambeau Field. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. The year before, the Packers won Super Bowl XLV as the sixth seed.
Regardless of playoff positioning, Rodgers knows his team has quite a challenge against a Vikings team that would make the playoffs with a win.
"It's always difficult playing a division opponent on the road,'' Rodgers said. "They have a very loud crowd and a distinct home-field advantage. We need to make them one dimensional, and that's going to be done through scoring some points early, trying to take the crowd out of it a little bit and (by) trying to make them throw the ball to beat us.''
Being one-dimensional might work in the Vikings' favor if it involves a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson. The MVP candidate stands 208 yards shy of Eric Dickerson's NFL-record 2,105 rushing yards in a season. And Peterson has accomplished the feat after tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee last December.
"It's definitely something that I still want to accomplish,'' Peterson said of the record. "But ultimately, the most important thing is getting to the postseason, getting a 'W.' I'd be satisfied with both, but definitely satisfied with the 'W' first.''
The Packers won't be satisfied if they surrender 200-plus rushing yards to Peterson, as they did during a Dec. 2 victory in Green Bay.
"We don't want him to get (the record) on us,'' nose tackle B.J. Raji said. "Obviously he has had a great year. Obviously he's a great player. But you don't want to be that team.''
If Rodgers enjoys the same success he usually has against the Vikings, the Packers should have no worries, regardless of Peterson's production. In nine career starts against the Vikings, Rodgers has a 114.2 passer rating, completing 202 of 286 passes (70.6 percent) for 2,458 yards and 20 touchdowns with four interceptions.
In his last two games at the Metrodome, Rodgers completed 70.1 percent of his passes for 636 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a 141.6 rating.
Not to mention the Packers have won 12 consecutive NFC North games. They will try to become the first NFL team to go undefeated in its division in back-to-back seasons since the league went to a divisional format in 1967.
In other words, the Packers look like good bets to handle their side of the bargain Sunday.
"Our guys are ready,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're focused on beating the Vikings and sweeping the division."