Chicago Bears Need WR Alshon Jeffery Week 1 vs Packers


Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery missed the entire preseason slate with a calf injury that simply would not go away. Jeffery not only missed the games, but he missed nearly a month’s worth of practices leading up to the season.

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The Bears’ number one receiver finally returned to practice on Wednesday, and he was also a participant on Thursday. However, in both instances he was considered to be a limited participant. Reports of how Jeffery looked have mostly been positive out of Halas Hall, but he is undoubtedly questionable heading into the Bears’ Week 1 match-up against the Green Bay Packers.

Despite playing on their home turf, the Bears are heavy underdogs to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers this weekend. While they are dealing with their fair share of injuries, the Packers are a well-oiled machine who are undoubtedly going to be ready to go for the season opener. The Bears will also be ready to go, but I have plenty of questions about their overall talent matching-up against the Packers.

Sep 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) meet after end of the second half at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

If the Bears are going to have any sort of chance in this game, quarterback Jay Cutler must have his number one target on the field, and he has to be effective. If Jeffery cannot go, I have a hard time giving the Bears even a fighting chance in this one.

When the Packers have the ball, the Bears are probably going to struggle, and there is little they can do about it. I am sure defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will have his unit in the best position possible to succeed, but the talent discrepancy between the Packers’ offense and Bears’ defense is massive.

Rodgers will lead one of the best offenses in the NFL on the field on Sunday, while the Bears have statistically one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Chicago allowed the second most points in the NFL last season, with an unacceptable 27.6 points allowed per contest.

Fangio’s transition to the 3-4 defense will make a difference this season, but a lot of the same defensive players return. I do not think the Bears have the horses to stop the Packers’ offense on any sort of consistent basis.

If the Bears are going to compete in this game, they are going to need a special effort from their offense. As great as Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb and the rest of the Packers’ offense is, their defense is exploitable. They are going to need consistent and productive play out of Cutler, running back Matt Forte and of course Jeffery.

Jeffery represents a major match-up nightmare for the Packers on the outside. They simply do not have anyone who can consistently cover him in man-to-man coverage. Cutler is going to be looking for Jeffery early and often, and if the Bears are going to have a chance in this game, Jeffery is going to have to play like a legitimate number one receiver.

Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) makes a catch in the end zone for a touchdown while being defended by Detroit Lions free safety Glover Quin (27) during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have few advantages on the field in this match-up against the Packers. I would argue that they have the coaching staff advantage, but as far as one-on-one match-ups on the field, advantages for the Bears are far and few between.

With his imposing size, impressive strength and freak athleticism, Jeffery gives the Bears one of those advantages. He has the talent to single-handily dominate the Packers’ secondary, and help bring a much-needed huge performance out of Cutler.

Simply put, if the Bears are going to have a successful game on Sunday afternoon, Jeffery must be in the line-up, and he must make an impact.

Next: Staff Predictions for the Chicago Bears' 2015 Season

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