Pleased to Meet You: Week 9, Green Bay Packers

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears take on the Packers on Monday Night Football, and we're previewing the action today.

Welcome back from the bye week, now go chase down the division leaders that have had your number the last few years while you're missing several key contributors and can't get after the quarterback. The 2010 NFC Championship Game feels so far away, doesn't it.

Yes, the Bears re-enter the season with a tall order on their plate, and a loss to the Packers. can put a damper on the team's hopes for division contention when Jay Cutler returns.

Last Year: 11-5, which won the Packers the NFC North. The Packers made it to the Divisional round of the playoffs, where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.

This Year: Currently, they're 5-2, which sets them in the lead of the NFC North. Once again.

When Last We Met: Remember week 15 of last season? James Jones caught three touchdown passes in the second and third quarters and the Packers beat the Bears 21-13 to provide their final separation in winning the division that year. There seems to be a common statement in these three parts of PTMY.

Offense:
Total Yardage:
3,072 (2nd)
Total Points: 212 (3rd)
Passing Yardage: 2,082 (5th)
Rushing Yardage: 990 (3rd)

The offense has been the hallmark of the Packers, and the constant has been Aaron Rodgers. But it's a different thing this year, as Randall Cobb's been hurt, Jermichael Finley suffered a significant neck injury, Greg Jennings wears purple and not green, and James Jones has missed time. Not to mention that it's entirely possible that the Packers have a running game. I know, shock, alarm and all that.

Eddie Lacy has come in and given the Packers a decent running game to go with Rodgers' strong passing game, and while 446 yards, three touchdowns, and a 4.0 YPA won't blow everybody away, they're a strong improvement over what's been running the ball the last few years up north.

But on the receiving side of things, Jordy Nelson's been having a pretty good year - he leads the team in receptions and yards, and also has picked up seven touchdowns on the year. Behind him, Jarrett Boykin's also put together some decent catches as a fifth option

Defense:
Total Yardage:
2,318 (11th)
Total Points: 158 (16th)
Passing Yardage: 1,733 (21st)
Rushing Yardage: 585 (4th)

There's not much about the Packers defense that you don't already know. Clay Matthews is still out with his thumb injury. Nick Perry and Brad Jones are both questionable with a foot and hamstring injury, respectively. But even with those big injuries, the Packers still have put together 23 sacks on the season; A.J. Hawk has put up three himself and Mike Daniels has four in rotational duty.

But, the Packers do give up plenty of yardage in the passing game, and while the defensive backs aren't putting up awful seasons statistically, Tramon Williams and company haven't quite been getting it done.

If the Bears do this...

This year, the Bears actually have some offense; however, they're missing the main trigger man in Jay Cutler. Not only do they need a defense that's been rather sieve-like to stiffen up against one of the league's top offenses, they need to do it with Josh McCown at the helm. Back in 2011, the last time Josh McCown played the Packers, the Bears' offense put together 14 points on 441 total yards of offense. The Bears have a lot more weapons than they did back then, but can the Bears get enough defense to benefit a more potent offense? Can the Bears get a pass rush? Can Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene stabilize the back seven in pass coverage?

If the Packers do this...

The Packers can gain some real separation on a banged-up division contender with a win on Monday, and they get to look forward to a defense that hasn't done its job. Can the Packers' pass rush get through the Bears' revamped offensive line?

Closing Thoughts:

The Bears' need to right the ship against a tough opponent with a severe handicap, and a win here ties them with the Packers within the division.

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