Well, we had to wait till week 14 for our first rematch against an NFC North foe, who better for it to be against than the cheesies up north? In lieu of standing here in the intro making a bunch of fudge-packing jokes, let's talk about the actual team... We had the misfortune of facing their new 3-4 defense first, but now that there's tape on it, does that give us any more advantage the second go-around? And how do we handle this Aaron Rodgers-led offense, who's rapidly becoming one of the top QBs in the league (maybe top 5)? Let's take an early look at this matchup, but first, accountability from last week.
So during last week's game against the Rams, I again laid out four keys, two X-Factors and a prediction...
Steven Jackson: We succeeded on this one; Jackson had 28 carries for 112 yards and another four receptions for only 9 yards, accounting for the most offense on the team. No end-zone splashes, and for the being the everything on this offense, that's something.
Hitting Kyle Boller: Hey, what do you know, we DO have a defensive line! 3 sacks (4 TFLs) with 7 QB hits. Have we found a line worse than our O-Line? We just might have!
The Rush: Well, we ran. We didn't run WELL, but we ran. Forte (24-91) and Bell (11-35) had most of the work on the day.
The Deep Ball: If Jay hadn't dinged his hand, we might've had a LOT more to talk about in this section. Suffice to say, Hester, 48-yarder. Bennett, 71-yarder including YAC and fumble.
Rams X-Factor Danny Amendola: I guess his prior games were the outlier and this is the norm. 3 targets, 1 reception, 0 yards, 1 rush, 8 yards, 1 fumble. Yeesh - whiff. Still better than Daniel Fells, the other guy I was considering (no targets).
Prediction: Bears 27-24: This is a win (2-0 on season since I started doing this fanpost).
Random thoughts... What's the record for number of fumbles in a game that weren't recovered by the other team? Just wondering, cause I think we broke it last week (5). ... Williams might not be pushing Briggs to the bench, but is it possible he might take a few reps from Roach on the other side? Or does this mean Briggs might be more expendable than we think? ... Is WR more of a need than I give it credit for? I know Jay
just missed DA 's hands on that screen throw (and it didn't help that DA couldn't get more in front of it), but I couldn't help but think that if DA is on the field, we need more help than we think. Bennett looked pretty good but for some reason I'm not yet sold on him (By the way, please hold onto the ball? It's sort of important.). I was impressed with Hester's grabbage of that 48-yarder, now if only he'd help Jay out more like that.
Now... to the Cheeseheads!
1) S Al Afalava must be a beast.
Rodgers has weapons. He will hit his weapons. Afalava (and the rest of the secondary) has to play strong in this game. I'm sure Rodgers has seen what Favre did to the Bears, and trust me, he thinks/knows he can do better.
2) Pressure QB Aaron Rodgers
The Green Bay O-Line is the same piece of swiss (see what I did there?) that it was when we first met in Week 1 - maybe a little stronger, but still swiss. Rodgers has been sacked 45 times. However, in last night's win against Baltimore, Rodgers threw 3 TDs and 2 INTs while being sacked once and hit twice. Baltimore doesn't hit like they used to, but Rodgers can still be pressured. We did in the first round, and we need to now.
3) Hang on to the football
Turnovers are at a premium. One fumble recovered by the other team is one thing. Another five on the ground but recovered by your team is another thing. Secure the ball. Remember, the less a team has the ball, the less opportunity that team has to score. And hey, typically it's the team that has the most points that wins the game. (End Madden impersonation)
4) Finish drives.
When you have a chance to score, SCORE. I hate the matchup of Rodgers vs our defense, especially because it isn't Boller against our defense. Don't be content to run 3 times and kick a FG. Take the chains off and go for the end zone - the Bears will not beat the Packers by kicking field goals all day. Of course, if you have to, kick the FG, but don't act like you're settling for a FG when it's only first down.
Packers X-Factor) TE Jermichael Finley
I originally had Ryan Grant here, but that was way too obvious, and I like going a little more obscure with X-Factors. Finley was the main weapon for Rodgers against BAL Monday night (7-79-2 on 8 targets). When he's been in, he's done good things. Over the last three games, he's had 17 receptions - Rodgers is developing more trust in his TE, which can't be good for the Bears. Prediction: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 65 yards.
Bears X-Factor) DE Adewale Ogunleye
Wale, I'm calling you out. You had two sacks against GB in week one. Your only other games with sacks were 2.5 against DET and one sack last week against STL (and a half sack against ARI). That means in eight games you have been sackless, and you have less than a sack in 9 games. Your sack has been removed. Get your sack back. Prediction: 4 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, 3 TFLs.
Prediction) PACKERS 27 - 17 BEARS
I don't like this matchup. It could be reminiscent of the Bears-Vikings matchup two weeks ago. I hope I'm wrong but I can't see this one being pretty - GB has become the overall #2 defense, and we... well, um, are not.
Questions? Comments? Insert typical Packer Bashing here! And of course, also feel free to insert your "SJS you're a dumbass" comments below with the rest of 'em!