We have the rival Bears coming up this weekend, and both teams are coming off lackluster performances, with da Bears losing to the Saints and the Packers barely getting out of Carolina with a win. The weather forecast is good, with a %40 chance of rain and low winds so very mundain for Chicago weather. We are lucky to be playing in Chicago early in the season because their crappy field only gets worse as the season goes on. There are plenty of things to be excited about this weekend and plenty of concerns I have going into the matchup. No matter what each team’s record is, these two teams play each other close every time, with the last several games all within seven points. Here are a few players I think have to bring their “A” game for the Pack to come out on top.
* Aaron Rodgers is going to have to break the curse of da Bears defense once and for all. If Aaron is going to have two bad games in a season, odds are at least one will be against da Bears, if not both. Da Bears have always had a good formula at confusing Rodgers, whether it be blitzing, disguising coverages, or just playing sound defense. He is going to need a good running game to keep da Bears honest, and then it is all up to Aaron to seal the deal.
* As far as that running game goes, Mr. James Starks would go a long way in ensuring the offense stays on the field, chews up clock, and keeps da Bears on their heels. He has shown outstanding burst through holes, and is slowly improving at pass blocking, getting himself on the field more on passing downs. He has shown pretty good hands on screens as well and getting him out in space with a blocker or two can go a long way.
* Scott Wells has to do a good job a calling line motions and blitzes. He is not the most powerful guy, but he has a keen eye for defensive allignment and plays with good leverage. He will be responsible for lining guys up and protecting Rodgers from Peppers and Urlacher. Clifton MUST have a good game!
* Clay Matthews has only one sack this season, but this a game where he can play catch up, since Cutler has been sacked more than any other QB. Da Bears lost their right tackle to injury last week so Matthews has to have his ears pinned back and attack Jay Cutler all game long. Walden took over in his first start last season while spying Cutler, racking up three sacks in the process. Continuing da Bears protection issues is a must this week.
* Bishop and Hawk will be responsible for keeping da Bears best threat under control, Matt Forte. Da Bears should try to run the ball more this week after all the attention Martz has gotten this week for Cutler’s butt whippin the last two weeks. If the Packers can get a double digit lead, the running game will disappear and thats when Matthews and co. can get after Cutler.
* Charlie Peprah is back in the starting lineup due to an injury, and Martz will be circling him as the prime target this Sunday. Peprah’s coverage skills have always be questioned, but he is smart and should know what to expect. Luckily, da Bears do not have any prime time WRs or TEs so as long as he keeps everything in front of him, he should be successful.
* Last season, Tim Masthay had a bad game against da Bears, then a great one to finish the season. He punted with pinpoint accuracy in the last game of the season, as well as the playoffs, and kept Devin Hester in check. One punt is all it takes, whether it be out-kicking the coverage , or laying one up the middle for the taking. Hester is a game changer, so eliminating him would go a long way to securing a victory.
* Coaching is the final ticker in these divisional games. We need a more balanced approach than the 70/30 pass to run ratio we have been playing with. Had Starks and Grant been looking bad, then I would understand, but both have had their promising moments, now it is time to unleash them. I have Rodgers on one of my fantasy teams but I will accept a backseat this week if McCarthy will pound the ball down da Bears throat.