Shawn (2-1) — I had my concerns about the Detroit Lions last week, but I picked the Green Bay Packers because I thought Aaron Rodgers and the offense would control that game. Wrong.
Ironically, for the third game in a row, Rodgers and the offense will be facing a team that is banged up and vulnerable in the secondary. As usual, the Chicago Bears still have a good tandem of corners in Tim Jennings and rookie Kyle Fuller, though Jennings has had his issues with Jordy Nelson in the past. Still, Fuller was supposed to be the nickel corner, but a season ending injury to Charles Tillman has made Fuller a starter. He has done well, but that means when the Bears play the nickel, which will be quite often on Sunday, they are playing a corner that wasn’t supposed to be on the field.
In addition to that, the Bears are injured at the safety position, a position they weren’t very good at in the first place. For once, the Packers have the advantage of playing a team that is more injured than they are. Jay Ratliff has had sort of a career rebirth so far this season, anchoring the Bears’ defensive line, but he got concussed last week and is OUT for this game. The Bears are also missing two of their starting offensive linemen.
Brandon Marshall and Jared Allen did not practice on Friday and are questionable, but I expect both will play. It doesn’t take much of an excuse for a veteran to miss practice. Still, if both are ineffective, that is a big problem for the Bears.
I don’t expect Aaron Rodgers to rebound with a great game, and though the Bears are currently ranked 26th against the run, I don’t expect the Green Bay running game to suddenly explode either. Actually, I think the best shot the Packers have of winning this game is to do what they often do and get after Jay Cutler. Some have been singing Cutler’s praises this season, so far, but I have seen mostly the same guy. Cutler has not seen the kind of pass rush that the Packers bring to the table, and I think the Packers should be able to get after Cutler and could get him off his game.
My main concern with the Bears is Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. The Packers have been hopeless at covering the running back out of the backfield. They also have been terrible at stopping the outside run, and the Bears LOVE to run outside.
With the Bears’ safety issues, this would be a PRIME week to see Brandon Bostick, or Andrew Quarless at the minimum. However, throwing the tight end the football isn’t Rodgers’ thing anymore. Like the Lions’ game, I think there will be a fair amount of defense in this game. I think that if a sharp Rodgers shows up, the Packers could win by two scores, but I don’t see that happening. I think Rodgers and the offense struggles again, and I think the Bears are just flat due to beat the Packers in Soldier Field.
Like last week, this game could go either way, but I like the Bears.
Bears 24, Packers 16
Andrew (2-1) — As bad as the Packers have started this season and as much as I like to rag on their inability to do this or that, I’m still looking for them to rebound off a bad effort, as has been customary under Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. I used the same logic prior to the Jets game and despite Green Bay’s willingness to spot them a couple touchdowns early, the Packers’ offense did finally put up some yards and points in what currently stands as their lone win on the season.
The defense stepped up against the Jets and despite them withering in the second half versus the Lions, I feel Dom Capers has earned a much needed stay of execution and there is little doubt that the Packers defense is loaded with potential. Add to that fact that one of the only things Capers has consistently done over the years is confuse Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, and I feel this game sets up well for the Packers defense and the corners’ ability to limit the success of the big outside receiver tandem of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.
Like my esteemed colleague said above, the danger lies in Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett exploiting the Packers less than stellar inside linebackers. I feel both of these Bears players will see some success and it wouldn’t even surprise me to see Matt Forte with 150 or even 200 yards of total offense. He’s had those types of games before that the Packers have managed to win and of all the players on the field Sunday, it’s Forte who is most likely to have big numbers. Can the Packers at least stop the bleeding in the middle of the field and limit what Forte does catching passes out of the backfield? They damn well better be game planning as such because it will be a key to a Packers victory or loss. Thus far, Capers’ unit has had no answers for running backs swinging out of the backfield and catching passes, but it simply has to be a focus of the defensive game plan this week and it will be. The cornerback triumvirate of Sam Shields, Tramon Williams and Davon House will all be tasked with a lot of man coverage on the lengthy but banged up Bears wide receivers and I expect the Packers secondary to come up big.
The Packers offense HAS to pull its collective head from its ass, right? After all, Aaron Rodgers told us to relax and be calm. His tone is a little snarky though and one can only wonder if he’s getting sick of our spoiled fan base. Is Aaron genuinely pissed off yet or not? I want to say that he is, but quite honestly I get the feeling that something is a little different this year with QB1. He seems more pissy and whiny than the angry focused leader we’ve come to know and expect on a regular basis. Something just feels different about him this year. Maybe it’s his passer rating.
Gone is the fun and joy in Rodgers’ game. I can’t remember the last time I saw him smile on the field and it used to be so commonplace. For me personally, it’s a lot more enjoyable as a fan watching a quarterback having fun out there, than a superstar player acting like he’d rather be doing anything else. Now don’t take this comment too out of context, but remember watching Brett Favre in warm ups and his demeanor on the field for every single game? When you put that side by side with the way the current quarterback has carried himself as of late, it becomes painfully obvious which approach is more apt to be rewarded by the love, joy and pure adulation of the fans. It’s not to say that these things translate to a better performance or that Rodgers cares about these things… but yes, he does care. He cares so much he’s probably reading this article to see what we’re saying about him because it matters to him. And it should matter to him that he’s coming off as bitchy, an adjective no man ever wants to be associated with.
So whatever it is you need to do Aaron… for crying out loud figure out how to make it fun again. Pants your center in warm ups. Go talk trash to Bears fans in the stands and get them all worked up. Offer Jared Allen an AARP membership card. Call the Packers fan base spoiled and laugh in our faces. Do something! Do anything to make it fun because right now that’s an ingredient this team is missing from top to bottom.
Actually, could you please pants Mike McCarthy? That would be about the most awesome thing ever. Big Mac strikes me as a tighty whitey sort of guy. Maybe that wouldn’t be so awesome. I digress.
Until proven otherwise, the Packers are and always have been a bounce back team under McCarthy and Rodgers. Green Bay’s offense will go off and the defense will do enough to escape with a win.
Packers 37, Bears 31
Monty (1-2) — Have I ever been less excited for a Packers-Bears game? Maybe back in the 80s, when I knew we were going to get slaughtered. But at least then, I knew I could look forward to some tremendous cheap shots.
I don’t like this game at all. I don’t like it because the Packers are not the class of the NFC North. These games against the Bears have pretty much been gimmes for a long time. This is not a gimme.
The Bears have, by far, the superior offense right now. In an ironic role reversal, their defense is pretty much shit, while the Packers defense looks like it could be the strength of the team.
That being said, the only thing stopping me from saying the Bears are going to walk all over the Packers on Sunday is the fact that they have a ton of injuries. Is that going to be the great equalizer here?
Well, it wasn’t last week when the Packers faced Detroit. I think the Lions were down to the bastard son of Jim Bob Morris at one cornerback and Grumpy Aaron Rodgers still couldn’t take advantage.
There’s just so much wrong with the Packers right now. The right side of the line can’t run block. The play calling and game plan are both questionable AND inflexible. The quarterback play is 100 percent dog shit. The starting tight end has no business being a starting tight end. The inside linebackers are liabilities in coverage.
Some of those things can be corrected in a week. A different game plan and a new starting tight end, for instance.
Will they be corrected? I don’t know, but I have my doubts. Buffoon isn’t exactly known for his deft adaptation.
The thing is, even if a couple things are corrected, there are still enough things that aren’t going to be fixed in a week for me to pick the Packers.
This is a team that created three turnovers last week and mustered only seven points. That is straight up pathetic. It’s also a team whose offense gave the opposition nine points and that appears to be a trend.
I’m well aware of the historical bounce back from Rodgers and McCarthy. I’m also well aware that the Packers own Cutty!
I just have zero faith in the Green Bay Packers right now. Zero. No one is accountable, but there’s plenty of finger pointing going on. That’s a recipe for a team ready to implode.
The good news for you is I’m 1-2, so I’ll probably be wrong this week.
Bears 17, Packers 14