Chicago Bears Early Look Week 4: Green Bay Packers
Sep 21, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gestures at the line of scrimmage during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Overview: The Chicago Bears welcome the Green Bay Packers to town this week, and while I try not to put too much stock into early season matchups, this one has huge implications that are hard to ignore. The Packers have struggled to a 1-2 start this season, and also fell to 0-1 in divisional play after falling to the Lions 19-7 last week. They almost lost to the Jets in their only win, and are clearly not the Packers we’ve been used to seeing the past few years. While I feel that their struggles shouldn’t be that shocking as they have had a lot of turnover the last couple of years, I do think they will rebound at some point this season and at least be competitive. That’s why it’s so important that the Bears strike now. Another win toward the lead in the division and another loss for the Pack before they find their groove could be massive.
Injuries: Clay Matthews tops the list of Packer injuries this week. Matthews was limited in Wednesday’s practice, and I don’t need to tell you guys how great it would be for the Bears if he missed this game. Joining him on the list are fellow linebackers Nick Perry and Brad Jones, making linebacker a major area of concern for Green Bay. Bryan Bulaga practiced in full, but is still listed on the injury report so his availability for Sunday is not a given. Wide receiver Jarrett Boykin and cornerback Davon House are the only other players listed.
Key Matchups: The Lions showed how important it is to take away Jordy Nelson last week, and I think the Bears will try to replicate that recipe for success. I don’t imagine they’ll have anyone shadow him, but they’ll keep an extra defender on him most of the game. Containing Eddie Lacy will also be key to defeating the Packers this week. He’s noticeably struggled so far this season, but he’s also seen some really tough run defenses. This game should be a good gauge of how far the Bears’ defense has come since the Buffalo game. I’m also eager to see if the Bears can get their ground game rolling against what has been an extremely porous Green Bay rush defense. Those missing linebackers I mentioned earlier could help that cause as well. If the Bears can’t get the chains moving on the ground this week, I’m going to seriously start worrying.
The Way I See It: I think the Bears actually have a decent chance in this one, and I will likely pick them to win in the staff picks this week. Green Bay is no longer the monster they once were and they haven’t played well so far, but they’re still dangerous. I always love watching these games because they can be so hard to predict. Even when the final outcome is what you expected, how it got there is usually a surprise. If the Bears can take a page from the Lions’ playbook this week and stall Green Bay’s offense, they’ll likely win this one. If they don’t, It could be a rough afternoon.
What do you guys think? Who’s your pick to win? Let me know in the comments section.