Week three for the Green Bay Packers will be against their bitter rivals the Chicago Bears at Solider Field in Chicago. The NFL’s longest rivalry will once again capture the attention of football fans around the country as it is a rematch of last years NFC Championship, as well as the opening divisional game for the two teams.
In the opening weeks the Packers have shown while they are still the defending Super Bowl Champions, they still have many areas in which they can improve upon. The main concern is the pass defense; which is ranked one of the worst in the league coming into this game. Add in the loss of Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, it appears as though the challenge has only become tougher for the Packers.
The Bears will pose as a decent test for the Packers as the rivalry game rarely disappoints and do not expect this one to either. The Bears offense has been led so far by quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte. While Cutler has been considered erratic throughout his career, when given time in the pocket, has been successful this season. Though time might be an issue for Cutler as the Packers are among the leaders in sacks early in the year.
The true test for the Packers will be if they can stop Forte, not just in the running game, but as well as the passing game. Forte has proven to be a dual threat back since entering the NFL and the Packers have had their struggles against running backs with his skill set. A good example was Week one against the New Orleans Saints, where running back Darren Sproles helped the Saints move the ball down-field seemingly at will through the passing game.
The likely return of defensive back Tramon Williams should help the defense for the Packers allowing them to put Jarrett Bush back deeper on the depth chart and off the field more. Williams made a case for himself last year as being the best cover-corner for the Packers last season and there is no question when he is on the field the pass defense is improved, as well as when Bush is off the field.
While those will be keys to look for the most intriguing match up will still be the Packers explosive offense versus the Bears stout defense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been in MVP form early in the year and the Packers look to face the toughest test of the season against middle linebacker Brian Urlacher and the Bears dominate defense.
The keys for the Packers will being able run the ball enough to keep the Bears honest. Rodgers is more then capable of picking apart the Bears through the air, but it will be in the Packers best interests to get running backs Ryan Grant and James Starks the ball early in the game to try and establish the running game so the Packers can take advantage of their excellent play-action passing game to get wide receiver Greg Jennings involved.
The most intriguing match up will still be how the Bears plan to defend tight end Jermichael Finley. Finley has been a match up nightmare for defense around the NFL in his short time in the league and it will be interesting to see if the Bears plan to cover him with a defensive back or linebacker.
While the Packers will face a tough test again this week in the Bears, look for them to be 3-0 by the end of the day Sunday. There are too many weapons on offense for the Bears to handle and look for Rodgers to once again put on the title belt. It will come down to the wire, but like the past two weeks, the Packers will make big plays in big moments to edge out the Bears, 31-27.
About the Author
Written by Noah Hanstedt
Born and raised in the small town of Neenah, WI. Grew up watching Green Bay Packers football with my late father. Been writing about sports for 5 years now and hope to continue becoming a stronger writer and an even better man.