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Bears-Packers Game Preview

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The oldest NFL rivalry meet for a Thursday night showdown

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Without a win in one of their next two games the Bears will enter the bye week 1-7.

And with the Packers and Vikings being the remaining games before the bye, it’s not looking good for the Bears to not be 1-7 at the bye.

Even with the Packers not looking like the team that won four of the last five NFC North titles, they still appear to have enough to beat the Bears.

Especially considering the Bears could be down their top four cornerbacks.

Can Aaron Rodgers top the six TDs passes he threw in the first half of that awful 2014 55-14 smackdown the Packers put on the Bears? Tune in and find out. If he does, at least you can go to bed and get on with your Friday.

Green Bay Packers

SBN Blog: Acme Packing Company

Record: 3-2, 2nd in NFC North

Last week: 30-16 loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys

Bears all-time record against: 93-91-6

Historical match ups: This is really the oldest rivalry in the league, stretching back 190 regular season games to 1921. The Packers have won 13 of the last 17 meetings going back to 2008. That includes the infamous 2011 NFC Championship Game. That game, the Charles Martin Game, the Refrigerator Perry Game, the Replay Game, those are just some of the more colorful moments in this rivalry.

Last meeting: ROLL IT:

17-13 Bears win on Thanksgiving. Easily the highlight of last season, right? Man that was a good night. Aaron Rodgers threw more interceptions than Jay Cutler that November night.

Key injuries: CB Sam Shields landed on IR yesterday, RB Eddie Lacy is expected to miss several weeks with a bad ankle sprain, TE Jared Cook is also out with an ankle injury, WR Devonte Adams suffered a concussion Sunday and will be out for the game, RB James Starks is also out with a knee injury, CBs Demarious Randall and Quinten Rollins are also questionable with injuries.

Offense: The Packers enter the game 26th in total offense (yards) with 331.8 yards per game, 17th in points scored (22.8 PPG), 16th in rushing yards (105.2 per game) and 25th in passing offense (226.6 per game).

The passing game is all familiar faces: Rodgers, Jordy Nelson (26 rec./312 yards/5 TDs), Randall Cobb (28/293/1), Adams (15/218/3 and Richard Rogers (8/77/1).

The Packers offense has been stagnant though despite the familiar weaponry and scheme. Rodgers has seemed "off." He’s completing only 60.2 percent of his passes and has thrown four INTs. His QB rating is a lowly 88.4.

The Packers’ running game is really hurting, literally limping into Thursday night. With Starks and Lacy banged up the Packers had to trade for Kansas City castoff Knile Davis, who has zero total yards this season (-2 rushing and 2 receiving yards). Davis does have 126 KR yards this year though. He has a 3.3 career YPC average.

Defense: Green Bay enters Thursday’s contest with a considerably more formidable defense than offense. The Packers rank 10th in yards allowed (339 per game) and 16th in points (22.6 per game). They ranked better against the run (third, 72.4 YPG) than the pass (21st 266.6 YPG).

The defense will be without several important cogs Thursday with Rollins and Randall possibly on the shelf. That being said, safeties Morgan Burnett and HaHa Clinton-Dix are quite good players themselves; Burnett has a sack, an interception, four pass deflections and is the team’s second leading tackler, behind Clinton-Dix.

The pass rush of the Packers is good as well, Nick Perry leads the unit with 4.5 sacks, Clay Matthews has three and former Bear Julius Peppers has 2.5. The team has 16 sacks, according to NFL.com, which is good for sixth in the league.

Despite these numbers, the Packers are still allowing opposing QBs to have a 101. 7 rating against them, giving up 10 passing TDs to just three INTs.

Key match ups: Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago’s pass rush. Teams have been able to force Rodgers to be inaccurate and make mistakes by containing him to the pocket. That may seem strange to hear about the best QB in the league but the fact is that what makes him so dangerous is that when he has time to scramble and keep plays alive with his legs and avoid the rush, that’s when he will inevitably find his weapons downfield.

With the Bears secondary being banged up and likely missing starters, it’s going to be on the front seven to get pressure and get Rodgers throwing quicker than he’d like.

The Packers running attack is in shambles right now. Their starting RB could be a guy who has been on the team for a shade over 72 hours when the game starts. Their back-up RBs will be two of their WRs. The Packers are going to be on a pass-heavy game plan so the Bears must not let the run game become a factor and must pressure Rodgers.

On offense it’s going to be about the Bears’ ability to keep the Packers’ pass rush at bay and get open against a banged up Green Bay secondary. Dowell Loggains has liked to pass the ball and the way the Packers’ defense ranks, it looks like that could play in to the Bears’ strength.

However, they still need to be willing to push the ball downfield and to actually score more than one touchdown a game.

What to watch for: Alshon Jeffery taking advantage of Packers’ back up secondary players. He’s going to see a lot of Clinton-Dix and/or Burnett over the top. This should open things up on the other side of Cam Meredith or underneath for Eddie Royal (should he play) and Zach Miller.

Brian Hoyer is who he is and so it is pointless to list every week that he needs to look to push the ball downfield and take shots deep once in a while. That just isn’t his game. The Bears are going to have to break big gains after the catch in order to get those big plays.

On the ground Jordan Howard needs to get more than the 17 touches he got last week and the team needs more than the 24 carries it got against Jacksonville.

The Packers are stout against the run but the Bears still should try and establish it. They have to be in a position to win the time of possession to be in ball games, especially against Aaron Rodgers when he’s pissed off and likely to get 50 pass attempts.

Willie Young needs to keep sacking the QB and get help from his fellow rushers doing it.

Key stats: The Packers are tied for 24th in the NFL with a -3 turnover margin. The Bears are at -1.

The Bears rank 10th in penalties accepted against with 45.

Also give WCG's own Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. a listen, he was on this morning with a FOX Sports affiliate previewing the game and talking general Bears stuff.

How do you see Thursday night shaking out? What will it take for a Bears win?