This season Thursday Night Football is coming very early and I don’t think that there will be a single complaint from anyone. In the first installment of the NFL Network’s attempt to establish its relevance with live football action as the oldest rivalry in pro football will be renewed when the Chicago Bears (1-0) head to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers (0-1). It was a tale of two weeks for these two NFC North foes as the Bears easily defeated a feeble Indianapolis Colts team 41-21 while the Pack suffered a tough loss to one of the league’s top teams in the San Francisco 49ers 30-22.
If there were ever a must-win situation in week two for a team this would be it for the Packers as they don’t want to find themselves with an 0-2 record while the Bears would sit at 2-0 and both the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings already with a win a piece as well.
Last week both quarterbacks Jay Cutler (21-35 for 333 yards with two touchdowns and an interception) and Aaron Rodgers (30-44 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception) and look for both to put similar numbers again this week as Rodgers is close to unstoppable and the Packers defense can’t seem to stop anyone ever since last season. Green Bay needs to improve their defensive pressure if they want to keep Cutler from hooking up with Brandon Marshall for plenty of yards and trips to the endzone.
Another aspect where the Packers need to show some improvement is their rushing attack as last week they were only able to produce 45 yards on the ground (26th in the league) with 27 of them coming from Rodgers. If they can’t find a better balance in their offense it could be a long day against a very tough and disciplined Chicago defense.
The Bears were definitely exposed by rookie QB Andrew Luck last week as they gave up 293 passing yards (26th in the league) and if the first-year signal caller could do that
against them in his first game imagine what the reigning league MVP Rodgers could do against them in an early must-win scenario. A key footnote for this game is that one of A-Rod’s favorite targets Greg Jennings health status, he is currently listed as doubtful with a groin injury and he doesn’t play then James Jones, Jordy Nelson and JerMichael Finley are going to have to step up and carry the load for the Pack.
This one’s is going to be a close slug-fest with both teams having serious questions that need to be answered but in the end I like the Packers to pull out the victory because there’s just no way they start off the season 0-2. Green Bay 31 Chicago 27.