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Bears Pick Three: Players who must shine Sunday vs. Packers

The Chicago Bears open the regular season Sunday against the Packers, who have had their number in recent seasons. Who needs to stand out for the Bears to stand a chance?

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears kick off the NFL season in just two days! The excitement and anticipation, however tepid it might be for this team, will come to a head Sunday on the lakefront in Chicago.

It's been a long and difficult offseason for the Bears, with plenty of turnover from the top of Halas Hall down to the players on the field. They've endured injuries, trades and cuts in an effort to put the awful 2014 in the rearview mirror.

The John Fox era kicks off what everyone hopes is a better, brighter future for the team that is beginning a rebuilding process that will take time but will infuse youth and talent on a roster that has been devoid of both the past few seasons.

The prospects for Sunday don't look great, depending on who you ask. There is certainly a chance that the Bears come out fired up and reinvigorated under Fox and Co. and catch the Packers by surprise but it seems like most people are picking the Packers to win a much closer contest than last year's blowouts.

For Chicago to pull off an improbable win they will need to play a perfect game with few mistakes and sound techniques. Either way though there are certain players that need to play better than others.

The three most important Bears for Sunday's match up, to me are:

Pernell McPhee, OLB - The regular season is here and it is time for the Bears' prized free agent addition to live up to the money that was given him and ring in the era of the 3-4 defense in Chicago with a solid game Sunday. The pass rush will be paramount for the Bears to keep Aaron Rodgers off his game and out of sync. The secondary is full of question marks and for those questions to be somewhat masked, the LBs and DL need to be at their best and to me that starts with McPhee. He was brought in to be the hallmark of the pass rush and the main defensive threat and hopefully he can record his first couple of sacks in a Bears uniform Sunday for the Bears.

Matt Forte, RB - It would be too easy to choose quarterback Jay Cutler, because he is the one player that touches the football on every offensive play (unless it's some gimmicky direct snap play), but his struggles against the Packers are well documented and I don't need to re-hash those. The line "Cutler needs to take care of the football and limit his risks and turnovers" applies every single week at this point, so I am going with Matt Forte. The Bears need to keep Rodgers and Eddie Lacy and the dangerous Packers offensive attack on the sideline as much as possible. Fox wants to be a running team and Forte is going to be the leader there. He needs to build a rhythm early in the game and keep his legs chugging in order to chew up yards and the clock. Forte will be the key offensive player Sunday.

Kyle Long, G/T? - My final "pick three" player is the popular offensive lineman Kyle Long. With less than 48 hours before kickoff, the best kept secret in Chicago, right next to Alshon Jeffery's status for Sunday, is where the third-year offensive lineman will line up Sunday. Long has been an outstanding guard and whispers of him sliding out to tackle have been floated since the day the 2014 season ended. I believe Long will be manning the right tackle spot on Sunday and I think it will be a very important move for Long. The RT spot has been downright awful all preseason and against the Packers' pass rush of Clay Matthews and ex-Bear Julius Peppers it will be important to keep Jay Cutler upright as well as open running lanes for Forte. Hopefully Long can make the transition easily and be a road grader for Bears' offense.

Honorable mentions: Safety Adrian Amos, ILB Shea McClellin, WR Jeffery, whoever starts at RG

Which players do you think are going to be most key for a Bears win over Green Bay Sunday?