Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers: Five Players to Watch

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Martellus Bennett, Tight End, CHI

Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals strong safety George Iloka (43) in the first half in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Martellus Bennett led all NFL tight ends with an impressive 90 receptions last season. While his play largely went unnoticed on a national level, Bennett was a force in the Bears’ passing game, making plays all over the field for Cutler.

Bennett is a big target (6-foot-7, 248 pounds) with solid speed and nice athleticism for the tight end position. He has extremely reliable hands, and is also a strong blocker. Bennett may not put up huge touchdown numbers like a Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, but he is incredibly consistent, and is a match-up nightmare in the middle of the field.

Cutler was able to count on Bennett as a security blanket last season, and I could see something similar this year. However, I believe new offensive coordinator Adam Gase will look to feature Bennett more down-field and in the red zone, similarly to what he did with Julius Thomas when Gase was with the Denver Broncos.

Gase is a bright offensive mine who seemingly always finds his match-up advantages on the field. With his sheer size and unique athletic ability, Bennett is a player who Gase can use creatively to create headaches for the defense.

Also, Bennett likely becomes even more involved in the gameplan with all of the injuries the Bears have suffered at the wide receiver position. Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson are all banged up, and while I expect each will play on Sunday, a fully healthy Bennett may be a more intriguing option for Cutler in the passing game.

The Bears are clear underdogs in this game, and they need to try to find all of the advantages that they can. Bennett lined-up against the Packers’ less than impressive group of inside linebackers is a match-up that the Bears need to look to exploit.

Next: Bears vs Packers: Complete Game Preview

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