‘Twas the Middle of Packer Week

…the biggest Packer week since 2001, in my estimation.  Not counting last year when the teams played on opening day, or 2008, which was huge for the Bears but the Packers were out of contention.

Green Bay has been the sweetheart Super Bowl Champion pick of many if not most of the “experts,” experts both nationally and locally.  Seems that in the NFC, the only other two teams given any chance by the “experts” were the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings.  Happily, Minnesota is 0-2 and the Bears just embarrassed the other favorite at home last week.

Of course the “experts” won’t lose their love for Green Bay, and have the Packers favored by 3 over the Bears, which is really by 6 given the Bears are at home.

The theme that continues to replay in my head this week is simply, tell me why the Bears can’t win this game?  I’m not ready to say they will win this game, but tell me why they can’t.

Granted, Aaron Rodgers has been a great quarterback since taking over in 2008.  And I’m actually happy for him–the man endured a lot of abuse and disrespect (including me) from the day he was drafted and has proven everyone wrong.  So as a human, I’m happy for the guy.  (As a Bears fan, I hate his guts of course).

Sophomore linebacker Clay Matthews III is scary good, no doubt.  Six sacks in two games is nearly unprecedented.  But let’s keep in mind, three of those sacks came against the Buffalo Bills.  No pass rusher in NFL history has kept up Matthews’ pace in three games, so let’s not go overboard.  The Bears, despite their questionable offensive line, have done a good job at slowing down the opposing rush by adjusting their playcalling to it.  So before anyone predicts another three sacks for Matthews, let’s see how it goes.

Yes, Charles Woodson is still one of the best corners in the NFL.  But Green Bay lost their other solid corner, Al Harris, last season.  Teams can run on the Packers-they’re 28th at stopping the run.  Their offensive line is suspect and will be starting rookie Bryan Bulaga at left tackle for the very first time against Julius Peppers.  And their starting running back rushed for less than 30 yards last week.

I had to rub my eyes before I saw this–the Bears are fifth overall in offense, third in passing offense.  They are the #1 defense in the NFL stopping the run.  Yes, they’re 27th in passing defense, but newsflash, that’s how Lovie Smith’s defense has always worked.  If they stop the run completely and force turnovers, which they have, they can allow teams to throw for 400 yards and win games.  That’s exactly what happened last week and it seems like the Cowboy win wasn’t as close as the scoreboard indicated.

Last week every national and local prognosticator picked Dallas to beat the snot out of Chicago.  I can’t gloat because I didn’t believe the Bears would win either.  I’m just predicting that again, at least every single national “expert” will pick Green Bay, because the Packers are their sweetheart team and they won’t be able to stand being wrong about them.

I’ve been scared to believe in the Bears since about week 4 of the 2007 season.  But I’m starting to believe.

8 Responses to “‘Twas the Middle of Packer Week”

  1. I don’t doubt that CutlerMartz will find a way to put up some numbers, but you’d better believe Rodgers is gonna keep pace!

    And he might not rack up another 3 sacks, but don’t sleep on CM3!

  2. The problem I have with the Bears (and I’m a huge Bears fan) is the dang inconsistency – and it’s on both sides of the ball. Cutler’s play is a perfect synopsis of Chicago Bears football – one drive, his throws w/laser-like precision, scrambles to make plays, and is filled with a ‘never say die’ attitude that almost seems reminiscent of Elway, Montana, or Young…guys that left it all on the line and made things happen when it counted.

    The next drive, he’s throwing a pass into triple-coverage, making you wonder just what the hell he was thinking.

    *sigh*

  3. Right Roy, i’d like to see Forte and Taylor run into them (and through them eventually) and the Bears defense give no chance to their RBs. That should make the difference.
    Sure green bay had 4 sacks against buffalo and 6 against Philadelphia. But it’s nothing spectacular since in the other games, buffalo allowed 3 and Philadelphia allowed 5. Plus, if Matthews can be kept away as the bears did with Ware after a while, then you take out 60% of sack chances by green bay (OK, that may be a bit simplistic).

  4. I’m more afraid of Rodgers doing the 7 and 10 yard dink-and-dunk passes all day than anything. Also if Clay Matthews is blitzing then that means there’s a mismatch out there somewhere, so please Packers send him every play. I like the Bears chances here, and I also love the Christmas undertone of your post. Let the good times roll!

  5. The great thing I saw from the Bears this Sunday, which gives me hope for the rest of the season, is that Mike Martz’ new system was working. He was able to dictate mismatches with 2 and 3 TE personnel sets as well as with WR alignment that dictated safeties covering WR’s. And he’s the perfect no nonsense coach for someone like Cutler.

  6. I agree with you that the Bears are certainly capable of beating the Packers. Although the Bears have shown so far that defensively they can be good enough, shutting down the Packers offense, even without Grant, will obviously be a huge undertaking for the secondary. I can also see this game being a shootout.

    Packers have some Oline issues of their own, so we need to get get a lot of good pressure on Rodgers early so he does not get comfortable. They’re not good against the run, so maybe Forte and/or Taylor can break out a little bit early to open things up for the rest of the game. I’m already sick of hearing about how great Clay Matthews is. I understand the guy has 6 sacks in two games, and as Roy pointed out, half of those came against the hapless Bills. But I think the hype he’s getting is a little over the top and he’s definitely not going to continue on this pace. If he goes crazy in this game, I will eat crow, but I don’t think he will. To me it just seems like he’s been annointed into a HOF player due to the media’s obsession with his fast start and family history.

  7. So let me get this straight…

    Your argument is that the Packers CAN’T run, but the Bears CAN stop the run, and that the Packers CAN throw but the Bears CAN’T stop the pass? That’s why you think Chicago has an advantage? The Packers are going to play to their opponents weakness and Rodgers is going to sling the rock all over Soldier Field tonight. It won’t matter if we can run or not.

    Also, you say that Green Bay is ranked 28th in rush defense but you left out that it’s only two games worth of work and one of those was a game where Michael Vick ran for over 100 yards in a game we didn’t gameplan for him playing an extended amount. That’s pretty much a muligan and we won’t be playing a team like that again all season. In our first two games we held the opponents running backs to 35 yards and 103 yards, respectively. We have the number one pass defense and number two overall defense. Strange how you left that out.

    Finally, Clay Matthews doesn’t have to get three sacks tonight. All he has to do is draw attention because we have so many playmakers on defense. Another stat that mysteriously didn’t make your post is that not only does Matthews lead the league in sacks, but the Packers lead the league in sacks as a team.

    In the end, I’m excited for tonight but I don’t see the Bears hanging around through the third quarter. I predict the Packers to be winning 13-7 at the half and end up winning the game 34-17. Let’s end the non-sense about the Bears being some great team. They got a good win against Dallas and needed a crazy rule to beat the Lions. Just because they’re in Green Bay’s division… doesn’t mean they’re in the same league.

    Go Pack Go!

  8. I always attract the Packer fans here for some reason…

    All I can say is we’re going to see one way or another Brando. Sorry if you’re offended that I’m supporting my team; that’s what good fans do. Could you be right and might the Packers embarrass the Bears? Sure, I’ve seen it so many times before it won’t phase me. I’m just choosing to believe that this team will get it done.

    My argument about Chicago’s pass defense is they don’t care if they’re ranked 32nd in pass defense if they win games. The defense is set up to allow a lot of yards as long as they keep teams out of the end zone. Which is exactly what happened to Tony Romo-his 300+ yards didn’t win the game.

    Go Bears.

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