Following an upset victory in week 1, the Chicago Bears’ attention now shifts to the archrival Green Bay Packers. Much like the Niners game, the rest of the country isn’t giving the Bears much of a shot in this one, but as last week showed, the phrase “any given Sunday” remains true.
Forecasts show about a 60% chance of rain on Sunday, and with how discombobulated the Packers looked on Sunday, I truly believe we have a legitimate shot at winning this game. But in order for that to happen, a few key guys will have to step up. Let’s look at a few Bears that could have a big-time impact on Sunday night.
Coaching matchups in the NFL have always intrigued me, especially when both sides have a strong idea of the other’s tendencies. In this case, who has the schematic edge? Luke Getsy and his knowledge of Packers’ defensive coordinator Joe Barry or vice versa?
With the familiarity on both sides, this game could come down to out-of-game adjustments. Which coach can predict what the other will do and develop the better counter? The Packers’ coaching staff understands Getsy’s tendencies, but can he predict their game plan and adjust accordingly to throw them off just enough?
Getsy has already shown the ability to make in-game adjustments, as evidenced by the Bears’ offensive explosion in the second half last Sunday. In this game, however, he’ll have to be a step ahead during the entire week of prep.
In week 1, the Packers’ secondary struggled mightily to communicate. The Vikings took advantage of this by moving Justin Jefferson all over the field. Whether it was stacks, bunches, picks, switch releases, shifts, motions, or some combination of things, they created favorable matchups (i.e., anybody other than Jaire Alexander covering him) in every way possible.
Darnell Mooney was unusually quiet last week against San Francisco, hauling in only 1 catch for 8 yards. It worked last week, but winning with your best wide receiver being practically non-existent is just unsustainable in this league.
Fortunately, the NFL is a copycat league, and the Bears will assuredly do the same thing for Mooney as the Vikings did for Jefferson. They will create one-on-one matchups that are beneficial for him, whether it be with a linebacker in the underneath areas of the field or a cornerback that he’s simply better than, Mooney will have opportunities to shine. It’s just a matter of him taking advantage of them. Expect him to bounce back in a big way on Sunday night.
In last week’s post, I mentioned David Montgomery as a guy likely to have a big performance, my reasoning being that in the preseason game against the Browns, he looked like he thinned out and became twitchier and more explosive.
That twitchiness did not translate at all against the Niners. Some of that could be due to the rain, but his backup, Khalil Herbert, also played in the exact same conditions and looked much quicker and shiftier. He rushed for nearly 20 more yards in about half as many touches and just looked more explosive overall. I don’t see why things would change now.
The Packers play a lot of 22 and 33 fronts. In these cases, a 22 front means the nose and defensive tackles are in 2-techniques (head-up on the guard), and a 33 front means the nose and defensive tackles are in 3-techniques (the gap between the guard and the tackle). This leaves the interior of the defensive line clear as day. Normally, this large distance between defensive linemen is some sort of pressure or game indicator, but the Packers very rarely get creative out of this. They just let those interior defensive linemen two-gap (i.e., be responsible for the gap on both sides of them).
The Bears can take advantage of this with a heavy dose of an inside running game from under center. With Herbert’s explosiveness, he could be in for another high-efficiency game.
We now shift to the defensive side of the ball, and a name that generated a lot of buzz on Sunday could be in for another big game against the Packers. Dominique Robinson was sensational in his debut, registering 1.5 sacks, 5 tackles, and many more pressures.
But this weekend, the Bears could use him in a unique role.
Minnesota was very effective generating pressure in snaps where they shifted their outside linebackers to the inside. Those linebackers were just too quick for Green Bay’s guards. Though the Bears run a 4-3, it is still beneficial to implement similar ideas. Robert Quinn should be left one-on-one with their backup tackles, but on the other side, the Bears could move around Dominique Robinson a bit. He should still be rushing the passer and setting the edge outside for most of the game, but the Bears could create favorable matchups for him by allowing him to rush inside every now and then, whether it be by lining him up inside, looping around while inside, or bringing him in stunts or twist-stunts while on the outside.
With his quickness and hand speed, it could be too much for the Packers’ banged up offensive line.