By Wanda Wiedman//@WandaW63
A rivalry unmatched by any other team in the NFL will be rekindled this Sunday Night. The first time the Bears and Packers met, the Chicago Bears shut them out 20-0 on November 27, 1921. However, the last time they met the Bears suffered a crushing loss to the Green Bay Packers 23-16 on November 12, 2017. Needless to say, I hope it will be exciting.
In a nationally televised game, the Bears will need to focus on these three elements to beat the Packers.
- Stick with a balanced offense. If we’ve learned anything from the horrific collapse of the Atlanta Falcons in Thursday night’s game, its that the Bears have to make sure the run game and passing game complement each other. It’s comforting to know that Coach Matt Nagy is calling the plays and knows what quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is capable of doing. The young QB has all the right weapons to spread the ball around. Expect Nagy to dish out some fancy plays against the Packers defense.
It is also imperative that the offensive line keeps Trubisky clean. That includes perfectly executed snaps by center Cody Whitehair, who struggled through preseason to get it right. I also want to see fullback Michael Burton perform some great blocking to give running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen a clear lane to run.
- Contain QB Aaron Rodgers for the entire game. Rodgers can be sneaky good and has made throwing across his body an art. Now that the Bears have a strong defense, they must put pressure on him at every snap. It is true that linebacker Khalil Mack has not had enough reps in the preseason; however, he is the best defensive player in the league. With that being said, Mack will wreak 100 percent havoc on right tackle Bryan Bulaga. But he is just one piece of the defense. Expect defensive end Akiem Hicks, rookie linebacker Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan to be disruptive.
I have no doubt the Bears will be able to stop the run, it’s in the air that concerns me. I’m not talking about the hail mary’s that Rodgers is so famous for. (Just about anyone with a great arm can throw caution to the wind in hopes that a teammate will catch it.) I’m talking about those short hook routes and seam routes Rodgers loves to throw to. If the Bears defense can’t have success in press coverage then it will be Rodgers all day.
- Finally, the Bears need to guard the red zone with intensity. This is the one area that I am not confident in. But it will be up to cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara to be effective in the red zone and make quicker breaks on the ball. I hope to see safeties Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos create some “Peanut Punch” type of turnovers from the Packers. This would be huge for the Bears defense as they ranked 29th in interceptions for 2017. With wider receiver Davante Adams and new addition tight end Jimmy Graham, the defense will be tested.
I’m not sure what is going to happen on Sunday but I guarantee the Bears will #BeObsessed when they walk onto Lambeau Field.
I’m taking the Chicago Bears to win by a field goal in a tight game 27-24.
Talk Bears with Wanda on Twitter @WandaW63