Packers @ Bears Preview
The stat of Week 13 involves the Packers’ opponent, the Chicago Bears. Last Sunday, Jay Cutler had 131 yards passing in the first quarter. He finished with 143 yards for the game. 12 yards! In 3 quarters! Against the Rams! At home! Somebody tell the Packers D to settle. Down boy.
On paper this is no contest. Emotionally, this is no contest. The Bears have nothing to play for. The Packers still have an outside shot at the NFC North, but more importantly, are trying to lock up a wildcard. The Bears are a statistical nightmare at this point, while the Packers have really put it together.
Keys to the Game
1) Make the Bears drive the field. Johnny Knox is averaging 29.4 yds per kickoff return. Take care of him. I don’t see the Bears capable of putting together a 12 play, 86 yard drive at this point. They don’t have the weapons. Forte is averaging 3.4 yds per carry, and Cutler has no weapons and even less confidence. Crap such as long returns, fumbled kickoffs, and dropped passes deflected into interceptions are the only ways Chicago will stay in this game.
2) Contain Greg Olsen. Yep, the tight end. He is great talent, a big target and the only guy Cutler will be able to look for. We may even see Woodson on Olson more than on their wideouts.
3) Red Zone offense. The Packers are getting some national attention as a Super Bowl contender. Their RZ ineptitude will keep them out. They will have to outscore Minnesota or New Orleans. You know what I mean. Field goals will not work.
4) Quick start. The last two road games (Tampa Bay and Detroit) have seen the Packers let inferior opponents stick around. Would love to see a 14-0 start going into the 2nd quarter.
5) Learn from Thursday night. Pittsburgh was in a must win situation. On the road. Against a lesser opponent. Within their division. They lost to the Browns and are basically out of the playoff picture. Don’t let it happen Sunday.
Some other interesting facts…
1) The Packers remain #1 in total defense, #1 vs. the pass, #1 in TO margin, and #2 vs. the rush. The last time the Packers D was ranked #1 this late in the season was 1996. Omen?
2) Clay Matthews was named Week 13’s Defensive Player of the Week. He becomes part of the first father/son duo in NFL history to each be named Player of the Week.
3) Since 2000, the Packers have the 3rd best December/ January record in the NFL at 31-12. Only the Patriots and Steelers have better records.
Prediction- Green Bay 27, Chicago 9