Packers - Bears Preview
Bears - Packers Thursday Night Showdown
This is a big game for both teams. The Packers lost a tough game week 1 and will be looking to avoid an 0-2 start, while the Bears are highly motivated to get a win against the defending AFC North champs and put themselves in the driver seat in the division. The 49ers had a lot of success on the ground against the Packers and did a great job controlling the clock and pace of the game. As much as Jay Cutler loves his new weapons at receiver, the Bears would be wise to follow the Ninersí blueprint and establish their ground game with Matt Forte and Michael Bush. The Bears have a very stout front 7, but do have a questionable secondary. The Packers likely wonít worry too much about running the ball, and instead focus on spreading the field with receivers and creating mismatches. WR Greg Jennings will be out, but the Packers are deep enough at receiver to overcome this.
1. OLB Clay Mathews v LT JíMarcus Webb
Clay Mathews is off to a hot start this year, leading the NFL in sacks after week 1. One of Chicagoís major issues has been properly protecting Jay Cutler, and they will be facing a premier pass-rusher in Mathews. Chicago can stop Mathews from having a huge impact by keeping him honest with a strong run game and sending extra blockers his way
2. CB Tramon Williams v WR Brandon Marshall
Cutler loves to throw the ball to Marshall and targeted him 15 times last week. Williams will probably spend most his time on Marshall and will have a tough task on his hands. He is giving up a lot of size on Marshall, but has the coverage skills to stay with him and not let the Cutler-Marshall connection dominate the game.
3. DT Henry Melton v Packers Interior OL
When Rodgers faces pressure right up the middle, he sometimes struggles, as it takes him out of his rhythm. Melton is an underrated penetrator, but he is going against an excellent Packer interior offensive line. OG Josh Sitton is one of the best in the business and C Jeff Saturday is a smart veteran. It will be interesting to see who gets the best of this matchup
4. QB Jay Cutler v S Charles Woodson
Jay Cutler is a gunslinger in the truest sense of the word, just as Charles Woodson is a ball hawk. Cutler wonít be shy about slinging the ball around the field, and Woodson will be waiting for him to make a mistake. The Packersí defense is predicated on turnovers, and one big play from Woodson can change the gameís outcome.
My Pick: Packers 27-20