Well, the Packers-Bears game gets a little bigger now that there are no unbeatens in the NFC as of this moment, aside from the Bears and Packers. Meaning, who ever wins, leads the entire NFC. Who will that be? Well, perhaps we should break it down.
Thus far, the Packers have struggled running the ball as well as passing. I know Aaron Rodgers went off in the second half against Buffalo, but that doesn't change the fact that they struggled in the first half and versus the Eagles. Their running game has also been bad, and it only got worse once Ryan Grant went down for the season. Now, the only thing they can really rely on is their passing game. However, Aaron Rodgers is a good QB so he will likely be ready to go this week.
The Bears, on the other hand, have had a lot of success passing the ball, and almost no success on the ground. The Bears are going to be missing Chris Williams for this game, so we will see if they can establish the running game. The Packers run defense is the worst in the league, in regards to yards per rush.
KEYS TO THE OFFENSES:
The key to the Packers winning is their ability to run the ball with some consistency. It doesn't have to be a great rushing attack, and likely won't be with the talent the Bears have in their front 7. However, they cannot abandon the run and just throw the ball all game. Yes, Rodgers would get a lot of yards, but if this happens, they will end up with the L. They need to keep the Bears defense honest.
he key to the Bears winning is limiting their turnovers. Last year, Jay Cutler alone had 6 turnovers against the Packers. The Bears had a turnover margin of -4 in those two games and they lost by a combined 13 points. That's it. Less than two touchdowns and a -4 turnover ratio over two games. That means the Bears can't be more than -1 all game. Hopefully they are either at 0 or in the positives in the turnover margin this game. Another key to the Bears getting a victory is establish a good running attack to take the pressure off the WR and Jay Cutler against the Packers pass defense. This will also open up the passing game.
The Packers defense is one of the best in the league against the pass. Conversely, they are one of the worst in the league defending the run. They are allowing 5.3 ypc on the ground. But how much of that is inflated due to Michael Vick running all over them? The Packers also have Clay Matthews who has 6 sacks in two games.
The Bears defense is the best in the league against the run, and is nothing special against the pass. However, the Bears pass defense yardage may be inflated due to the Cowboys throwing 50+ times against them. The Bears are missing Major Wright for this game though. Lets also see if Charles Tillman can play corner today without falling down.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
For the Packers they need to shut down the Bears running game early. This is so they can do what they do best, defend the pass. This way, they won't have to worry about Forte on a linebacker or safety, instead, they'll be able to bring in a corner to lineup on Forte, since the Bears running game will be non-existent.
For the Bears, they need to generate a good pass rush today. Julius Peppers needs to have his breakout game today as a Bear. Tommie Harris also has to show that he is the Tommie of old. Yes he was getting double teamed quite a bit last week against the Cowboys, but he used to be able to still get penetration. He wasn't able to do that last week. Perhaps this is the week for these two. If the pass rush is there, the Packers will have to rely on their run, which will not be a good thing with the Packers offensive line and matched up against the best linebacking trio in the NFL.
Bears 31-17. I thought it would be 31-20, but I did not know Ryan Grant was out for the season. I say the Bears open up fast and strong. They highlight the run as well as the pass as they dominate both sides of the game.
PREDICTIONS ON STATS:
Jay Cutler 17/26 284 yards 2 TD 0 INT
Matt Forte 27 carries 143 yards 1 TD
Chester Taylor 10 carries 42 yards 1 TD
Devin Hester 4 catches 65 yards 1 Fumble
Johnny Knox 5 catches 112 yards 1 TD (long of 61 yards)
Greg Olsen 3 catches 42 yards 1 TD
Matt Forte 3 catches 33 yards
Devin Aromoshadu 1 catches 18 yards
Earl Bennett 1 catches 14 yards
Julius Peppers 5 tackles 2 sacks 1 FF
Brian Urlacher 10 tackles 1 sack 1 INT
Tommie Harris 4 tackles 1 sack
Mark Anderson 2 tackles 1 sack
Zack Bowman 4 tackles 1 INT
Anthony Adams 3 tackles 1 Fumble Recovery
Aaron Rodgers 21-38 265 yards 2 TDS 2 INTS 1 Fumble Lost
Brandon Jackson 10 carries 27 yards
John Kuhn 7 carries 23 yards
Aaron Rodgers 6 carries 25 yards
Greg Jennings 2 catches 34 yards
Donald Driver 6 catches 87 yards 1 TD
Jermichael Finley 4 catches 63 yards
Jordy Nelson 2 catches 21 yards 1 TD
Brandon Jackson 2 catches 12 yards
Donald Lee 3 catches 43 yards
John Kuhn 2 catches 5 yards
Clay Matthews 6 tackles 0 Sacks
BJ Raji 3 tackles
AJ Hawk 7 Tackles
Nick Barnett 6 Tackles 1 FF
Chuck Woodson 5 tackles 1 Fumble Recovery
Ryan Pickett 3 tackles 1 sack
Cullen Jenkins 3 tackles 1 sack
Brad Jones 8 tackles 1 sack