The Chicago Bears are heading up to pay a visit to division rivals the Green Bay Packers on Thursday in a contest which will set the tone for who holds sway in the NFC North. This is easily game of the week as it pits the incumbent against the challenger. Both teams are playoff bound and while the Bears absolutely destroyed the Indianapolis Colts, the Packers are coming off a tough loss to the playoff bound San Francisco 49ers.
In my regular season prediction article, I had the Bears dropping both games to the Packers. However, after last weekend, the Packers looked…well…human. Turns out if you hit them, they will bleed just like everyone else. That loss to the 49ers makes this game all the more interesting as it will be telling how the Packers respond against the Bears. But in order for the Bears to win, they will need to see a few players step up in a major way. Here are my picks to click for the Thursday night matchup:
Lance Briggs – Against the Colts, Briggs was nowhere to be found. That was alright for week 1 as the Colts didn’t really show up to the game but Briggs will need to have an awakening against the Packers. With Brian Urlacher still trying to cure what ails him, Briggs is going to need to step up and be the leader on defense. A couple blitzes from the outside would create havoc for Aaron Rodgers that could result in some turnovers. Time to turn up the heat in that kitchen.
Chris Conte – Playing the Colts in week 1 was the best thing that could’ve happened for Conte. It provided a much easier transition into his second year as a pro and he should have came away with a lot of confidence from it. The Packers have a lot of offensive fire power and it will be up to Conte to limit the receiver’s down field production. This kid also likes to smack some people around so it should be fun watching him defend against the run as well.
Earl Bennett – Did you know Bennett had 40 yards against the Colts? Imagine how many more he could’ve had if the Colts wised up and started double teaming Brandon Marshall? Expect the Packers to do just that which will open things up for the slot receiver. I expect Bennett to have a solid game and put up some strong yards after catch. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a few red zone targets on Thursday.
X-Factor: DJ Moore – I was considering putting Devin Hester here as it only takes one punt return to make or break a game. But it seems more logical to put some pressure on Moore. This kid has a knack for finding the ball in the air and with the Packers running more of a spread formation I would expect to see Moore on the field often as a nickel back. If Rodgers is going to throw an interception, be looking towards Moore to be on the receiving end of it.
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