This One Becomes A Bear NecessityPosted:Sep 12th, 2012 9:51 pm
Strange thing, this Thursday night game in week 2. On one hand, it allows you to forget about San Francisco and move right on to the next opponent and turn things around. On the other hand, if you slip up at home against the Bears, you have 11 days to think about an 0-2 start at home before heading to Seattle for a Monday night game.
This just doesn't feel like the best time to face Chicago. They're coming in a confident bunch, having dispatched of the Colts easily, after a tight first half. They're watching the film of the Pack's opener and figuring they''' be able to move the ball up and down the field. Green Bay's run defense was atrocious in game one and Mike Tice, the Bears' new offensive coordinator will test it early using his two-headed attack of Matt Forte and Michael Bush.
The last time Brandon Marshall played at Lambeau he made Chad Henne look like an all pro. He and Jay Cutler have great chemistry and will be a dangerous duo all season. Tramon Williams will be assigned the task of keeping #15 under wraps as much as possible. Cutler will take some chances and if Williams can pick one it might swing the game in a key moment.
With Davon House at least a week away, we'll get more Jarrett Bush and Sam Shields and they will need to be much better than they were in the opener. Same goes for the safeties, who found themselves lost in zone coverage all day. The inexperience in the back end is a concern, putting even more importance on a pass rush that got to Alex Smith four times, but for the rest of the day allowed him to be way too comfortable.
The Bears should be able to move the ball; the question is whether we'll see the Packers' offense we're accustomed to seeing, or the one we've seen a little too often since last year's game in Kansas City. Rodgers rarely puts up big numbers on this defense and may be without Greg Jennings, who's listed as doubtful, though Adam Schefter is reporting his odds may be as high as 50-50 to play with a groin injury.
With or without Jennings, expect to see more Randall Cobb all over the field and expect to see more patience with the running game and Cedric Benson. The Bears defense is above average, but it's aging at linebacker and is nowhere near as stout against the run as the 49ers are. This should give us a better indication of where the Pack's running game stands. Jeff Saturday needs a better game, as does Marshall Newhouse.
The Packers have won four straight over the Bears and Cutler is 1-6 against the green and gold. The Pack has also won seven straight division games. But none of that really matters. Chicago comes in hungry and confident while the Pack is angry, humbled and maybe a bit anxious. We'll see how close Brian Urlacher is to 100%: if he's a liability in coverage the Pack will attack him.
I expect a close, see-saw game that could go either way. On this night, the intangibles fall our way. A late Cutler turnover clinches it: Packers 24 Bears 21
Hope to see some of you at the Park Tavern Thursday night. I'll be watching the game from the 11th frame in back. Always a great night, with food and drink specials and other prizes. Plus, a chance to win tickets to "Lombardi," coming to the Twin Cities this fall.