The Packers head back to Soldier Field for the first time since the NFC Championship game. They’re off to a fast 2-0 start, beating the Saints on opening night and coming from behind to beat Can Newton and the Panthers while the Bears are coming off a rough loss in New Orleans last week after an opening home win against the Falcons.
The Bears can’t afford to fall two games behind the Packers and still expect to win the division, so this sets up as a crucial game for the Bears. Here are the keys to the Sunday’s 183rd meeting of the greatest rivalry in professional football.
Oddly enough, I’m not referring to the Bears offensive line. No, I’m referring to the Packers’ 30th ranked defense. There will be opportunities to go after their secondary with Packers starting free safety Nick Collins out. If the Bears’ own swiss cheese offensive line can give Jay any time, that is. OK, so I took a shot at the O-line. I couldn’t help myself. Anyway,
Clay Matthews will be full speed ahead with his sights set on #6 in orange. All Matthews wants to do is pressure the passer. Use his aggressiveness against him and run right at him and turn him into a pile of clay.
The Bears have given up 11 catches and 151 yards to top opposing tight ends over the last couple of weeks. Jermichael Finley represents that next elite tight end to face the Bears. It’s time for the defense to figure this riddle out and tighten up on the Packers tight end.
The 1-2 I’m talking about is #12 in the green and gold, Aaron Rodgers. The punch should be pretty self explanatory. The Bears need to get to Rodgers. After he took a few shots in the NFC Championship game, including a devastating blow from Julius Peppers, he wasn’t quite the same in that game. I get the sense that if you really knock him around early and often and keep him from getting comfortable in the pocket, you have a chance to slow down their offense.
Yes, in case you hadn’t heard, the Beloved will be wearing the alternate orange jerseys. Maybe the Bears can confuse the Packers, who are used to hunter’s orange, and get a cheap turnover or two? I know it’s wishful thinking, but what have we got to lose?