Let’s just suppose, for the sake of painting a picture, the Packers take the opening kickoff Sunday at Soldier Field, matriculate down the frosted gridiron and grab an early lead. And let’s suppose Aaron Rodgers, the NFL leader in touchdown passes, throws another one to finish the drive, tying his career record of 45 in a season. And let’s suppose Davante Adams, the NFL leader in touchdown receptions, catches it for his 18th of the season, tying a Packers record.
We know, it’s a lot of supposing. Then again, the Packers have scored on 12 of 15 opening possessions this season. Would you bet against football’s top pass-catch combo making it 13 of 16?
However the Packers do it, they’re bound to start fast again. Is that when you flip over to Cardinals at Rams for the first time?
Bears fans — knowing the team will get into the playoffs with a win against the Packers or a Cardinals loss — will have itchy trigger thumbs Sunday when handling their TV remotes. On one channel, the Bears. Simultaneously on another, the Cardinals. Flip, flip. Flip, flip. Could any pandemic exercise program have prepared us for the demands of this all-important back-and-forth?
Last week, the NFL moved the Packers-Bears start time to line up with Cardinals-Rams. That was a smart move for competitive reasons, of course, but it sure ups the tension, too.
Get those thumbs good and stretched out. Here’s what’s happening:
Cowboys at Giants (noon, Fox-32)
The teams are a combined 11-19, yet the winner will be a division champion if (insert dramatic pause here) Washington loses to the Eagles Sunday night. The NFC East basically is a reality show that’s so utterly terrible, it’s actually kind of good.
Steelers at Browns (noon, Ch. 2)
While the Steelers chill before the playoffs, resting starters including QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Browns are desperate for a “W.” Look, it’s Cleveland. What could go wrong?
Packers at Bears (3:25 p.m., Fox-32)
The Packers still have a No. 1 seed in the NFC to sew up, so the Bears will have to bring their A-plus game to have a shot at victory. Asking for a friend: Do the Bears have an A-plus game?
Cardinals at Rams (3:25 p.m., Ch. 2)
About that rooting-against-the-Cardinals thing? They’re facing a Rams QB, John Wolford, who has never taken an NFL snap. Hey, maybe he’s the next Kurt Warner.
Washington at Eagles (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5)
If 6-9 Washington wins, it’ll not only take the NFC East crown but also earn — sorry, “earn” — a chance to win a playoff game at home for the first time since 1999.
Backstory: The Tale of Te’o (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
In an hourlong documentary, Manti Te’o — a member of the Bears’ practice squad — speaks on the “catfishing” hoax that enveloped him when he was a star linebacker at Notre Dame.
86th Heisman Trophy Ceremony (6 p.m., ESPN)
As usual, a bunch of hotshot QBs — Alabama’s Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Florida’s Kyle Trask — are the finalists. Oh, almost forgot about Alabama wideout DeVonta Smith, the guy who’s actually going to win it.
Villanova at DePaul (6 p.m., FS1)
Believe it or not, DePaul used to make opponents squirm like ’Nova does. This was before smartphones, the internet and even Dave Leitao as Blue Demons coach.
Bulls at Trail Blazers (9:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollumn put every opponent in a pick-your-poison position. As bad as their defense has been so far, the Bulls will probably pick both.
Celtics at Heat (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
Weren’t these rivals just going at it like madmen in the Eastern Conference finals? It was late September when the Heat upset the C’s in six.
College Football Awards (6 p.m., ESPN)
Don’t be surprised if Alabama’s Smith, Jones, running back Najee Harris and defensive back Patrick Surtain clean up on individual honors. Who do the Crimson Tide think they are, “Schitt’s Creek”?
Illinois at Northwestern (8 p.m., BTN)
It’s the only game of week for either team and — for the first time in what feels like forever — both the Illini and the Wildcats are good. See? It totally should be like this all the time.
Hornets at Pelicans (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
If you haven’t gotten a look at Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball yet, here’s a mighty fine chance. Someday, he and the Pels’ Zion Williamson will own this league — or at least be hyped like they do.
Bulls at Lakers (9 p.m., NBCSCH)
It would be nice to think that paying LeBron James and Anthony Davis a visit and getting schooled for two and a half miserable hours at least builds some much-needed character. Yeah, we’re going with that.
NFL wild-card playoffs (teams TBD)
There will be games at noon (ESPN), 3:40 (Ch. 2) and 7:15 (Ch. 5). But will there be Bears? Some of us aren’t ready to find a new thing to fret about yet.