The 4-3 Chicago Bears travel to Lambeau Field this weekend to take on a 5-2 Green Bay Packers squad in what will be the 187th meeting between these two old rivals. This is the oldest rivalry in the NFL and the Bears currently own the all-time record with a mark of 92-88-6, but the Packers have won the last 6 in a row including the 2011 NFC championship game. Chicago lost their starting quarterback two weeks ago and a Bears victory seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened when these two teams take the field against on another. You can throw out the previous records as I have come to expect the unexpected in this one. Let’s get down to business:
Offense: You might call it blasphemy, but I don’t think the Bears will miss Jay Cutler as much as people think they will. Cutler is a really good player, but I have more faith in this offensive scheme than I’ve ever had in my years as a Bears fan. Wide receivers are getting open not only because of their ability to beat opposing defensive backs who are covering them, but because of the play calling making them uncovered. If Marc Trestman can coach 38-year-old Anthony Calvillo to back to back Grey Cup victories and 36-year-old Rich Gannon to back to back MVPs, then he should be able to win a couple of games with 34-year-old Josh McCown under center. Of course the quarterback is not the only player on the field and other players will need to step up in Jay’s absence. I expect the Bears to lean heavily on Matt Forte and the running game this week and in the weeks to come. The offensive line will also be a crucial piece to both open holes in the run game as well as keep McCown comfortable and upright.
Defense: I’m really at a loss for words here. I hope the Bears used the bye week to tweak the defense enough to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers high-powered offense, but if they didn’t get ready for a long game. Even with the large number of injuries to Green Bay’s offense, I expect them to put up 30 on the Bears, and that’s on a good day.
Special Teams: It was good to see Devin Hester finally get into the end zone again, even if it was against a pathetic Redskins coverage unit that Dwayne Harris lit up the week before. Even though Green Bay has a much better special teams unit than Washington, I’ve learned that good things happen in bunches with Devin Hester and a return touchdown or two would go a long way toward evening the score in this one. It’s also time for Joe DeCamillis to earn his paycheck and show us all why he is such a highly respected coordinator. A well-timed fake punt or field goal could wind up being the difference in this one. Being aware of the opposition’s recent propensity for running their own fakes in these games is also key.
To sum it all up, I don’t like the Bears’ odds in this one. the Packers’ offense is firing on all cylinders, the Bears’ defense has been forgettable and Chicago’s offense is still growing as a unit. I’m just hoping the Bears don’t get embarrassed out there. That having been said, stranger things have happened…
What do you guys think? Do the Bears have a chance in this one or will it be the 7th straight victory for the Packers?