Know your opponent: The Green Bay Packers
The next chapter in the NFL’s oldest rivalry takes place this Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. An early game that see the Bears take a two game lead on their rivals from the North.
I dislike the Packers as much as the next Bears fan does, but I have to respect them. They are a classy organization that just finds ways to win. With that being said, I also can’t stand them. I can’t stand that they have enjoyed recent success, I can’t stand Charles Martin for his dirty hit on Jim McMahon and just don’t like the team at all. But I’m a Bears fan who embraces the rivalry, so what do you expect?
Legends like George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, Reggie White, Brett Favre, Brian Urlacher and now Aaron Rodgers have all played in the rivalry and know what it means to get a win over the opponent.
Are you ready for the latest installment of the rivalry? Take a look at our ‘Know Your Opponent’ this week for the Green Bay Packers:
Green Bay Packers
2013 record: 8-7-1 (Lost NFC Wild Card to San Francisco)
Key returners: Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy, Clay Matthews
Key newcomers: Julius Peppers, Ha Ha Clinton Dix
Key losses: Jermichael Finley, James Jones
Guest Blog: Lombardi Ave.
Pass DEF: 6th (198 YPG)
Rush DEF: 30th (156.3 YPG)
Pass OFF: 21st (211 YPG)
Rush OFF: 26th (78.7 YPG)
Three Key Players
Aaron Rodgers; QB
Eddie Lacy; RB
Clay Matthews; LB
Bears recent history vs. Green Bay
It hasn’t been pretty recently for the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers. Since acquiring quarterback Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos in 2009, the Bears are just 2-9 against the Packers. Cutler is 1-8 as a starter in those games.
When Brett Favre retired, Bears fans finally didn’t have to put up with a Green Bay quarterback torturing them. Instead, they got Aaron Rodgers who has been pretty damn good against the Bears in his career.
And despite getting hurt in last years game in Green Bay, Rodgers somehow found a way to get revenge on the Bears with a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb.
But things are hopefully changing. The Bears have a new offense and what looks to be an improved defense. The Packers are struggling to start the season, but we all know they will be in the race somehow some way at the end. That’s why this game is bigger than people really think.
The Bears have the chance to put their rivals in a two-game hole to start the season and own the tie-breaker until the two teams meet again in November. They can start to put their bad recent past away with a win at home. All they have to do is get it done.
One rookie to make an impact:
Davante Adams was the Packers second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and could be an impact on Sunday for the Packers offense that is struggling. Adams has seven receptions for 61 yards in just three games but his seen more playing time as the weeks have gone on.
The Packers are trying to work Adams into their system to compliment Nelson and Cobb. A complete game from Adams could go a long way for the Packers especially since the Bears defense will target Nelson and Cobb.
From Lombardi Ave.:
I’m hoping that Davante Adams shows up this week. The Packers’ second round draft pick has a huge upside, but we’ve only see flashes of his skills. The Packers need to get a complete game from him.
Packers offense has yet to click
I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing for the Bears going into the game on Sunday. You certainly don’t mind facing a Packers offense that has struggled through three games, but they still have Aaron Rodgers and the fire power to turn it on.
One reason the Packers are struggling is a poor run game this season. Eddie Lacy hasn’t been the back the Packers expected after a great rookie season last year. The offensive line also hasn’t helped his cause. Speaking of the offensive line, it’s looked dismal in protection at times not giving Rodgers enough time to throw.
Injuries to the offensive line hurt the Packers so far; mix in a rookie center and you’re going to have problems. Can they turn it around? Sure they can. I just hope it isn’t this weekend.
How will the Packers disrupt the Bears offense?
Cutler has had his struggles against the Packers in the past thanks to good schemes from Green Bays defense. It all starts with pressure from the Packers defense which will send Matthews and Peppers to get after Cutler. It’s up to the Bears offensive line to prevent that from happening.
The Bears matchup well with Green Bay, especially with their weapons. The Packers defense could struggle against this talented Bears offense and we could finally see Matt Forte have a solid game on the ground.
According to Lombardi Ave. –
Why has Jay Cutler struggled against the Packers? Because the defensive backfield has always seemed to come up with a scheme to slow the Bears receivers. Though both Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall have had success in the past against Green Bay, more often than not the Packers have had their way with them. That fact has given the Packers linebackers, especially Clay Matthews, time to hit home, put pressure on Cutler and sack him at opportune times.Will that continue this week? Well, we’ve seen Jay and Co. have success over the course of the first three weeks and unless the Packers can dial up some defensive plays to limit his receivers he might just break the mold in this game … I hope not, but it’s a distinct possibility.
Ah, Julius Peppers. It’s nice to finally see you again after you struggled last season with the Bears. But now you have a new home and you seem to enjoy it.
Good for you.
This is the last image I have stuck in my head from Julius Peppers. Him getting blocked by John Kuhn as he attempts to get to Aaron Rodgers and help the Bears win the NFC North.
I don’t care that Peppers went to the Packers because I saw enough of him the past two seasons to not panic. He struggled and at times seemed to ‘take plays off’.
But guess what? Peppers is going to have a monster game against the Bears on Sunday. Why? Because it’s just our luck.
From Lombardi Ave –
On offense, the X-factor will be the #3 receiver. Whether it’s Jarrett Boykin or Davante Adams, they have to step up and catch the ball. If they produce, it will open the door for Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. If they don’t, it could be a long day. On defense, I’m going with safety Micah Hyde. He was moved to safety from cornerback this year and has shown some struggles, but has also shown he’s a good fit at the position. I think he’s a player waiting to break out.
How are Packers fans feeling heading into the game?
From Lombardi Ave. –
It’s been mixed. Some are pushing the panic button and giving up, but they’re just the fringe. Most are following Aaron Rodgers’ advice about relaxing – the team will be OK. I tend to follow the relax message and hope the team can dig itself out from the hole they’ve dug. For the third straight year the Packers have started 1-2, so most fans are aware that this is a very long season and that anything can happen. It’s not necessarily how you’re playing in September and October, but how the team is performing in November and December. There’s plenty of football to be played … so, for the most part Packers fans are still waiting for the real Green Bay Packers team to show up.