Know your opponent: Week one – Green Bay Packers
We are just a few days away from kickoff as a new NFL season is finally here. This season we are bringing back a series of articles ahead of each Chicago Bears game this season. The article is designed to give you a preview of the Bears upcoming opponent.
Green Bay Packers
2014 record: 12-4 (Lost in NFC Championship Game)
Head Coach: Mike McCarthy; Head coach since 2006. Record of 94–49–1.
Key returners: Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, Clay Matthews
Key losses: Jordy Nelson (injury), Tramon Williams (free agency), Davon House (free agency)
Pass DEF: 10th (226 YPG)
Rush DEF: 23rd (119.9 YPG)
Pass OFF: 8th (226 YPG)
Rush OFF: 11th (119.8 YPG)
Three Key Players
Aaron Rodgers; QB
Clay Matthews; LB
Randall Cobb; WR
Packers recent success over Bears
If you’re a Bears fan, last season was ugly and it was especially ugly against the Packers. Week four of the 2014 season would prove to be a big turning point in the year. The Bears entered the game at 2-1 and fresh off a win versus the New York Jets. After the Packers led 21-17 at halftime, it seemed like the Bears were still in the game. Instead they didn’t score the rest of the game and ended up losing 38-17.
Then fast forward a few weeks later in November to what was one of the most embarrassing losses I can remember as a Bears fan. The Packers completely destroyed the Bears in every aspect at Lambeau Field, routing them 55-14 in what seemingly was the end of the Marc Trestman era.
Now the Bears have the chance to make a statement in the first game of the year against their hated rivals. The Packers are good, there’s no doubt about that but the losing to them has to stop. It has to stop now.
This one is pretty simple. Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers offense runs through Rodgers who is arguably the best quarterback in the league. Last season they put up 30.4 points per game which was the best in the NFL. Rodgers had the weapons and he will have most of them going into this season. But he is missing a key part of his offense as wide receiver Jordy Nelson was lost for the season.
Still the Packers offense should be fine as the team finally has a running back in Eddie Lacy to compliment an impressive passing game. If Lacy gets going early, it will open up more for Rodgers who simply picked the Bears defense apart last season.
While we hear all of the talk about the Packers great offense that can put up points, their defense is still a concern. The Packers defense gave up 21.8 points per game which was good for 13th in the NFL last season. Their secondary especially is very vulnerable and should be the point of attack for Jay Cutler and the Bears offense.
Losing two corner backs in free agency won’t help and the team still has some question marks at safety. If the Bears were to pull the upset, they will need to score and score in bunches.
The Packers run a 3-4 base defense and will have Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers coming at the quarterback any chance they get. Matthews historically has had some success against the Bears and Cutler, while Peppers would love to get some more revenge on his former team.
They also have the ability to rush the passer on the line and with Chicago’s questionable offensive line play in the preseason, it could be a long day for Cutler.
Rookie to watch
Despite his struggles to find a spot in the Packers receivers rotation, rookie Ty Montgomery will likely see a lot of action on Sunday in the return game. The receiver/return specialist was drafted 94th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Stanford and has the ability to take one to the house at any moment.
The Journal-Sentinel writes:
Zook said unless coach Mike McCarthy tells him otherwise, Montgomery will be returning kickoffs and probably will return punts, too.
That’s not a huge surprise since Montgomery has been the lead kick returner all training camp. He actually finished second on the team behind Rajion Neal (28.3-yard average) with four returns for 90 yards (22.5-yard average).
Chicago needs to be very careful if Montgomery indeed gets his hands on one.
Hate to do this, but I don’t see the Bears winning this game on Sunday. I’ll say Packers 34, Bears 22.