Week 15: Green Bay Packers At Chicago Bears
- QuarterbackThe Packers are now in a position to clinch the division if they can beat the Bears because it would give them a two-game lead over Chicago with two games to play and they would also have the tiebreaker advantage. Aaron Rodgers may be the best quarterback in the game and he has tormented the Bears with his pinpoint passes.The Bears will have a difficult task in this game and it will be even more difficult if Jay Cutler (neck) can’t play in this game. Backup quarterback Jason Campbell came off the bench and performed well vs. Minnesota in Week 14, but it’s doubtful he can trade points with Rodgers for 60 minutes. If Cutler can play, he must avoid throwing the ball into coverage because that has been an issues against Green Bay in the past.
- OffenseThe Packers had a solid ground game in their Week 14 come-from-behind win over the Lions, and that’s a huge relief for head coach Mike McCarthy. Alex Green had 69 yards and the newly re-signed Ryan Grant showed a bit of explosiveness with 13 yards on his only carry. Wide receivers Greg Jennings, James Jones and Randall Cobb have the ability to hurt Chicago badly.The Bears have not had any decent secondary receivers to complement Brandon Marshall and that’s why the offense has been so pedestrian. The offensive line has been rife with problems, particularly at the offensive tackle positions. Matt Forte has been OK, but he has not been as productive as he was last year.
- DefenseThe Packers have played well and managed to hang in there even though linebacker Clay Matthews has been out with a hamstring issue. Matthews should be back this week and he will give the Green Bay defense a much more ferocious attitude. The Packers have gotten a lift from rookie defensive back Casey Heyward who has five interceptions this season.The Bears started the season as if they were going to have the best defense in the league with all their interception and fumble returns for touchdowns. However, the Bears have slowed down. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (calf) won’t play in this game and the defense has shown some weaknesses in recent weeks.
- Special TeamsMason Crosby has had an awful year for the Packers and you have to wonder if he is going to be able to hold on to his job for much longer. Tim Masthay is an ordinary punter who has a net average of 40.0 yards per punt. Cobb has excellent speed and can be an explosive return man.The Bears almost always have an advantage with their special teams, but placekicker Robbie Gould tweaked a calf muscle in his plant leg prior to the Week 14 loss to the Vikings and the Bears are hoping that injury does not linger. Speedy Devin Hester has been below average this year and the Bears need him to have an explosive game vs. the Packers.
The Packers are streaking and appear to be getting healthier while the Bears are slumping and head coach Lovie Smith is clueless when it comes to making adjustments that would help turn a game around once his team falls behind. The Packers smell blood in the water and should jump all over the home team.