Jclombardi highlights Packers vs Bears headlines & previews.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
5 Things to Watch: Tight spot–Buffalo Bills decided to use man-to-man coverage on Packers tight end Finley. His catches came on scoring drives in Green Bay’s 34-7 rout. Tight ends have caught 19 passes for 145 yards against the Bears, so Finley could be in line for another big day. Happy returns–Packers haven’t returned a kickoff for a touchdown since Rossum did it against the Colts in 2000. Nelson’s off to a nice start. Nelson’s 31.0 average ranks second in the league. Hang on tight–coaching staff stressed ball security especially when Bears cornerback Tillman in the area. Nice trade-off–rumors that TE Olsen would be traded started to circulate shortly after the Bears hired Martz as offensive coordinator. Not only is Olsen still around, he’s off to a strong start in Martz’s system with five receptions for 76 yards. Early arrival–This is the earliest the Packers have played in Chicago. Poor weather shouldn’t be a factor this time around. Forecasts call for the temperatures to be in the high 50s with light winds at game time.
Edges: When Packers have ball--Packers quarterback Rodgers should be able to exploit a pedestrian Bears secondary if he gets time to do so. “This is not a game where I’ll probably be able to sit back in the pocket and just sit there,” Rodgers said. “It’s probably a game where I’m going to have to move a little bit.” Green Bay’s running game won’t get any easier against the Bears who allowed just 56 rushing yards on 41 attempts. Edge–Bears. When Bears have ball—Bears quarterback Cutler has thrown just one interception in 64 pass attempts. Seven players have at least five receptions. RB Forte leads them. Keeping Cutler upright will be a challenge who will be without starting left tackle Williams. Replacement do not appear to be good match against Packers outside linebacker Matthews. Edge–Packers. Special teams–Through two games, Slocum’s unit has 17 wins and five losses in special teams categories showing a good start for Packers. Leading the way is kicker Crosby who has converted all field goal attempts. Bears punt returner Devin Hester is dangerous. Edge–Packers. Intangibles–This rivalry has Packers coach McCarthy getting into it. He had a sign placed in the locker room with words “Bears Week” and “Intensity”. The Capers vs. Martz chess match is an intriguing one, but Martz is at a disadvantage because Capers has better players at his disposal. Edge–Packers. Prediction–This is Packers’ biggest obstacle to a 7-0 start before the tough part of their schedule arrives. It won’t be easy. It rarely is in this rivalry, but big games often come down to quarterback play. Both should be under enormous pressure, but Rodgers has proven to be cooler than Cutler when the heat is on. Packers 24 Bears 20.
The Great One: The way Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene sees it, there are seven qualities great pass-rushers have. Not only does Greene believe Clay Matthews possesses all seven, he thinks the long-haired budding superstar could be the greatest to ever play the position by the time his career is over.