Friday, September 24, 2010
The Packers were 11-5 last season and have won nine of their last 10 regular season games. That includes a 21-14 win at Soldier Field in December, one of two wins over the Bears in 2009.
Green Bay's offense has been as advertised through two games--they've scored 61 points with four pass TDs and three rushing scores. The loss of Ryan Grant for the season could be significant given that replacement Brandon Jackson ran for just 29 yards on 11 carries against a bad Buffalo team (thanks, last-second fantasy pick-up who did nothing to help my team). With the Bears struggling to get their ground game going, this game could be quite the shootout--Cutler and Rodgers have already combined for over 1,100 yards through the air.
The NFC North is splitting up faster than a Britney Spears marriage: the Bears and Packers are tied at 2-0 while the Vikings and Lions (who play each other on Sunday) are winless. It's the only division in football that's separated in such a way.
The Bears have a chance to make Chicago football fans lose their minds (in a good way)--a victory Monday night means 3-0 and first place all by themselves. Are you ready for some football?
Keys to the Game
Which offensive line can survive? Rodgers was sacked 800 million times last year, and while the Bills never got to him, the Eagles did so three times in Week 1. The Bears had two sacks in Week 1 but none against the Cowboys.
If Chris Williams' hamstring keeps him out on Monday, Cutler could be running for his life--Green Bay leads the league with 10 sacks. Linebacker Clay Matthews already has six from the linebacker position, taking advantages of blitzes in the Packers' 3-4 system.
Bears LBs vs. TE Jermichael Finley. In his third year in the league, Finley has piled up 150 yards receiving and has the highest average yards/catch on the team (18.8). He creates mismatches all over the place, but hopefully the Bears' linebacking corps can slow him down.
Get the ground game going just a little bit? The Bears are averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. I think they'll need to show at least a smidge of ability in the running game in order to keep Green Bay's defense honest.