The Green Bay Packers (0-1) must forget about their disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend as they have another difficult match up against the Chicago Bears (1-0) Thursday night.
Green Bay must improve quickly on their many mistakes as Chicago proved Week 1 they are ready to play and will exploit any blunders the Packers may make. Green Bay has a great opportunity to get in the win column as long as they stick to their game plan and do make the necessary plays to shut down the Bears offense. The NFL’s longest rivalry continues as Green Bay and Chicago clash at Lambeau Field in what should be an outstanding game.
The following are five things the Packers must do in order to defeat the Bears:
Shut down Matt Forte
Running back Matt Forte is a dynamic player that Chicago uses in the run and passing game. It is difficult to shut down both parts of his game so it is almost better to choose which one to focus on. Forte ran for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, while also hauling in three receptions for 40 yards. The biggest thing is forcing Forte to get his yards in small chunks. Against the Colts, he ran and caught a pass for over 20 yards each. The Packers cannot allow this to happen otherwise it will be a long day for the defense.
Do not let Jay Cutler get comfortable
Jay Cutler is a good quarterback with a cannon for an arm. The Bears have never given him top notch wide receivers to throw to until now. With the addition of friend Brandon Marshall, Cutler can now exploit defenses several different ways. Green Bay must do whatever it takes to get to Cutler early in the game and throw him in a funk. If he settles down, he could certainly throw for another 333 yards and complete 60 percent of his passes as he did against Indianapolis. The Packers were able to sack Alex Smith four times, and considering the 49ers and Bears offensive lines are of similar talent, expect around the same number.
Bump wide receivers at line of scrimmage
Green Bay’s cornerbacks must get Chicago’s receivers out of rhythm by bumping them at the line of scrimmage. Cutler is confident the Packers physical tactics will be of no use against the speed and toughness of his two new wide outs. Marshall and Alshon Jeffery had the two biggest receiving days against Indianapolis, which means Cutler will be looking to target them often against Green Bay. If Jarrett Bush in particular is not able to jam the wide receivers at the line then the Bears will go after him on every passing play.
Establish Cedric Benson
The Packers running game was non-existent against the 49ers. This does not come as a surprise considering Green Bay does not have a rushing attack and San Francisco is the best in the league at stopping the run. It is critical Cedric Benson gets established against Chicago in order to keep the heavy pass rush off of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Benson will have to do better than two yards per gain and the offensive line must open up holes for him to run through. Right guard Josh Sitton and right tackle Bryan Bulaga should not be stood up on any play considering they are the best blockers on the line. If Benson does not get involved, I do not see how Green Bay can come out victorious.
Give Aaron Rodgers time
Due to a lack of a sufficient running game, the 49ers swarmed Rodgers almost every time he dropped back. He was constantly under pressure and never looked content with standing in the pocket. Even though Rodgers was only sacked three times, the drop backs and quarterback hits were enough to make him inaccurate. The offensive line must do a better job in pass protection and allow Rodgers enough time to survey the field, make the proper read, and deliver a strike for a completion. If this does not happen, the Packers will most certainly not win the ball game.
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