Bears vs. Packers Preview of NFL Week 2 Matchup
On Offense: For the second consecutive game, the Chicago Bears offense will be facing a 3-4 defense in the Green Bay Packers. Fortunately for the Bears, they are familiar with defensive coordinator Dom Capers scheme as they enter their fourth season facing the exotic defense.
For the Bears offense to have success against the Packers defense, it all starts with the front five for the Bears. The best defense against the Packers offense is a ball control offense; running the football well and not turning the ball over keeps Aaron Rodgers and company on the sideline and out of rhythm.
The Bears are capable of running out of a set of one Wide Receiver, two Tight-Ends, and a Full-Back; something the San Francisco 49ers had success against the Packers defense this past Sunday. The I-formation could prove to be effective against a struggle run defense.
For the Bears to have success on the ground, the front five got to be able to move the Packers D-Line of the line of scrimmage. B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett are the teams’ best run defenders, so getting a hat on both of them and working their way up to the Linebackers.
The matchup on the line to keep an eye on is Left Tackle J’Marcus Webb against Right outside LB Clay Matthews. Webb has had success the past few weeks, but at the same time has had the benefit of not facing the team’s best pass rusher due to injuries. Tomorrow night he will get his first true test of the year against Matthews.
Jay Cutler has boosted confidence in his WR group against the Packers Secondary and to his credit; on paper the Bears do have an advantage. One of the matchups the Bears might feel they have an advantage at is when Brandon Marshall line-up against the Packers cover corner Tramon Williams.
In the past, the Packer Cornerbacks had success coming up at the line of scrimmage and pressing the Bears smaller WR’s. It will be interesting to see if they have that same approach against bigger WR’s (Marshall and Alshon Jeffery) that excel at getting off press coverage.
On Defense: The Packers added Cedric Benson in the off-season, but they still prove to be ineffective rushing the football.
The last time Benson faced the Bears, he rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown. Head coach Lovie Smith will more than likely want to exact revenge on Benson by limiting him on the ground for the second straight week.
The problem for the Bears defense (and for most teams not name the 49ers) is Rodgers, who has a 6-2 record and 102.9 career passer rating against the Bears. The good news for the Bears is that Rodgers will most likely be without his best WR Greg Jennings for the Thursday night contest. The bad news that might even that out is the Bears could be without their best CB in Charles Tillman, who has been limited in practice this week with a shin injury.
If Tillman is not able to go, Kelvin Hayden will most likely get duties against James Jones and Donald Driver; two players that are likely to replace Jennings. With Jennings out, the Bears could roll bracket coverage towards Nelson side to help out Tim Jennings.
Jermichael Finley is another Packer that has had great success against the Bears in the past. The TE is a matchup problem for just about any opposing LB or Safety, and against a less mobile Brian Urlacher you can expect Rodgers to target the 6-5 TE over the middle of the field.
The New York Giants had great success neutralizing the Packers high octane passing attack by pressuring Rodgers with their front four. The Bears will need to do the same in order to contain the Packers offense, and it starts up the middle with Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, and Amobi Okoye. The pressure up the middle would keep Rodgers from stepping into his throw and possibly forcing him into mistakes.
Not only up the middle, the outside rush need to consistently get to Rodgers to get him off rhythm. Julius Peppers has to win a high percentage of the time against LT Marshall Newhouse, and the Left Defensive End rather it is Corey Wootton, Israel Idonije, or Shea McClellin got to be disruptive against RT Bryan Bulaga.
A successful balance offensive performance, combine with a stingy defense should be enough for the Bears to walk out of Lambeau Field with a W.