Sep 13, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Bears 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL’s longest rivalry will continue when the Green Bay Packers (9-4, 3-3 road) meet the Chicago Bears (8-5, 5-2 home) for the 186th time in their histories. The Bears lead the series 92-87-6. The Packers are on a roll, winning seven of their last eight games, while the Bears have dropped four of their last five. Both teams are dealing with injuries, but the NFC North is on the line, so it should be another black-and-blue battle.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has always had his way with the Bears, racking up a career 101.0 passer rating. However, that number drops to 88.7 at Soldier Field, where he has thrown only six touchdowns and five interceptions in five games. And while Rodgers isn’t putting up astronomical numbers this season, the running game has stepped up recently, averaging 135.8 rushing yards per game over the last five. However, they only have five rushing touchdowns all season long.
This week, the Packers will be without WR Jordy Nelson (second on the team with 46 catches and 658 receiving yards), RB James Starks (second on the team with 71 carries and 255 rushing yards), and CB Charles Woodson, who has missed the last six games with a collarbone injury. J’Marcus Webb’s worst nightmare, LB Clay Matthews, will be returning to the field, looking to repeat his 3.5 sack performance the last time he faced the Bears.
Bears QB Jay Cutler is battling injuries to his neck and knee, so it doesn’t bode well that he has struggled in the past against the Packers (1-6 record, 1-3 at Soldier Field). WR Brandon Marshall was held to only two catches for 24 yards against the Packers in Week 2 and has sworn revenge this week. WR Earl Bennett (third on the team with 23 catches and 250 receiving yards) will be out with a lingering concussion, further weakening the 28th ranked Bears offense.
If rookie WR Alshon Jeffery (third on the team with three touchdowns) can stay healthy, he should be a huge asset for both Cutler and Marshall. RB Matt Forte is 166 yards shy of his third career 1,000-yard rushing season and will need to play a big role this week if the Bears want to win.
Here are some more numbers to keep your eye on:
3: First quarter points by the Bears against the Packers at Soldier Field in their last eight meetings.
7-14: Packers record when Rodgers throws 39 or more passes in a game.
9-22: Cutler’s career record when he throws 36 or more passes in a game.
1: Number of rushing touchdowns Forte has scored against the Packers in eight career games.
15-3: Bears record when Hester has 40 or more punt return yards in a game at Soldier Field.
2007: The last time the Bears scored more than 21 points against the Packers.
3-13: Packers record since 2008 when they score 20 or fewer points in a game. Three of those games were against the Bears; Packers won one and lost two.
2: Number of rushing yards on nine attempts by Forte the last time the Bears played the Packers at Soldier Field.
40: Number of consecutive regular season games since the Packers have had an individual 100-yard rusher.
17-7: Bears record when Forte rushes the ball more than 20 times in a game.
19-2: Bears record when Forte scores a rushing touchdown in a game.
1: Number of teams who have thrown more than two touchdowns against the Bears defense in their last 26 games (Packers and Aaron Rodgers in Week 15 of 2011).
36: Number of first downs gained due to opponents’ penalties by the Packers this season, the most in the NFL.
38: Number of yards for the longest kickoff return allowed by the Bears and Packers this season (second best in the NFL). Also, the longest kickoff return by the Bears special teams this season (second worst in the NFL).
20, 17: Number of yards for the longest punt return allowed by the Packers and Bears, respectively, this season.
5: As a Bear, number of touchdowns, as well as interceptions thrown, by Cutler in three regular season games against the Packers at Soldier Field.
7.6: Average Richter scale measurement when female Packers fans jump up and down to cheer.
7: Average number of teeth in a Packer fan’s mouth.
18: Average number of days between showers for regular Packer fans.
19: Average number of years between showers for die-hard Packer fans.
3,400,000: According to a USDA study, the number of cows in the state of Wisconsin.
100%: The likelihood, if you throw a Packers jersey on any one of those cows, that you would mistake one for a Packer fan.
There’s nothing left to be said. Bears-Packers week is coming to a climax. Are you ready for the Brandon Marshall show to begin?