The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers will meet for the 179 time tonight. The Bears lead the series 91-81-6. Last season the Packers swept the season series, but the Bears have had great success against the Pack.
Week two games showed the Bears and Packers can be good teams. Both sides of the ball for these teams have being playing well. The Bears beat the Cowboys and the Packers destroyed the Bills.
The Cowboys clearly have more talent than the Bills, but the Packers showed how lethal they can be on offense.
The Bears are 4-1 in their last five “Monday Night Football” games. Cutler is 5-10 and has 24 touchdown passes, 24 interceptions and a passer rating of 78.8 in his career at night. Cutler showed last week against Dallas why the Bears traded so much for him.
The offensive line was struggling on the first three possessions, but a great change on the line by the coaches settled Cutler down and helped the offense succeed. Frank Omiyale replaced the injured Chris Williams at left tackle and veteran tackle Kevin Shaffer played the right side. Those two will play on the line tonight against the Packers, Chris Williams is out with a hamstring injury. The Bears activated J’Marcus Webb to be the swing tackle and brought up G/C Edwin Williams from the practice squad.
The Bears also lost third round pick Major Wright last week to a hamstring injury, he will miss about a month and half of play. Chris Harris and Danieal Manning must deal with Aaron Rodgers and the high flying Packers offense. Julius Peppers, Mark Anderson and Israel Idonije could have great success against the Packers tackles because they haven’t done a great job of protecting Aaron Rodgers this season.
The Bears offense seems to be in sync and that is why the Bears are playing so well right now, the receivers, running backs and tight ends seem to know where Cutler will put the ball. That should be a factor for success tonight.
The two keys of the game for the Bears tonight are shutting down Clay Matthews and converting on third downs on offense. Clay Matthews is a beast for the Packers, he has 12 tackles, six sacks and one forced fumble in two games this season.
Even though he looks ridiculous with his long hair, Matthews is a force to be reckoned with and the Bears must keep him in check. Matthews might be the scariest defensive threat in the NFC North, ahead of the Vikings Jared Allen, the Lions, Ndamukong Suh and the Bears, Julius Peppers. Shutting Clay Matthews down will be a key to success for the Bears tonight.
The offense will need to convert on third down to be able to keep the ball in their hands because if the Bears can’t stay on the field, the Bears could be in for a long day. The run defense isn’t a concern, but the pass defense that gave up over 350 yards to the Cowboys last week could be in trouble. Mike Martz needs to come up with solid plays, so the offense can keep the clock running and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers off the field.
Players Who Must Step Up:
1) Matt Forte- Forte will be a factor in the screen game because of Mike Martz’s coaching style, but Forte must step up on the ground and it might be tough against Green Bay. The Bears need to win the time of possession battle and if Forte can have success on the ground, than that will only help.
Prediction: 20 carries, 76 yards, one rushing td. Five catches and 55 yards.
2) Chris Harris- Harris had some big hits last week and he needs to continue to make solid hits like that. The secondary with Harris and Manning is not making flashy plays right now, but their not making big mistakes. Look for Harris to be on his game tonight.
Prediction: Eight tackles, one interception.
3) Lance Briggs- Briggs will be pumped up for this big game. Look for him to continue playing solid tonight.
Prediction: 10 tackles, one sack.
Who will win?
Prediction: Bears 31, Packers 27.
Fun Fact: The last time the Bears and Packers played each other when both were undefeated in Week 3 or later was in 1962.