The Bears square off against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday night. The Bears are a little puffy chested after beating up on the Indianapolis Colts while the Packers are looking to bounce back after a tough home loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.
Division games are always crucial, and the chance to knock the reigning division champs to 0-2 with a tie-breaker has to have the Bears salivating. A lot of people are ready to concede this game to the Pack, but there are plenty of ways for the Bears to go up to Green Bay and win this game. Here are my keys to a Chicago Bears victory.
Ground and Pound
The 49ers gave the Bears a blueprint on Sunday – RUN THE BALL. The 49ers racked up 186 new rushing yardage on the ground against the porous Packer D. Between Forte and Bush, the Bears should be able to put up some rushing yardage. The advantage of running the ball also keeps Mr. Discount Doublecheck and his high-powered offense on the sidelines.
Jermichael Finley has historically been a tough matchup for the Bears, and that was with a healthy Brian Urlacher. With #54 working his way back into game shape, this matchup could be scary. You can bet that Aaron Rodgers will be pushing the ball up the middle of the field early and often. Whether the Bears have to change coverages or cover for Urlacher, don’t let Finley beat you down the middle of the field.
This is going to be a common theme for the Bears until proven otherwise – PROTECT JAY CUTLER. The Bears’ offense got rolling once the offensive line settled down vs the Colts. (Part of that may have had to do with Dwight Freeney heading to the sidelines with an injury). Clay Matthews had a solid game against the Niners, who arguably have a better offensive line. J’Webb and Company had better be ready.
Don’t Over-Brandon. It felt to me last week vs the Colts that it was the Jay and Brandon Show for a chunks of time. That feeling was confirmed when I reviewed the stat sheet and saw 9 catches on 15 targets . Don’t forget that balance is key while keeping Marshall active. The Packers are sure to key on Marshall and try to bait Cutler into going his way. That should leave options for Bennett, Hester and rookie Alshon Jeffery.
No Nut, No Problem
Bears top CB Peanut Tillman is listed as questionable with a bad shin, while on the Packers’ side top receiver Greg Jennings is nursing a bad groin. If neither goes, I consider it a wash. The Packers still have plenty of weapons including Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, so Tim Jennings and Kelvin Hayden will have to be on top of their games.
What do you think? What is the biggest key to a Bears victory?