Are the Bears Or Packers the Best Team in the NFC North?
My name gives away that I’m a Chicago Bears fan and I’m quite happy that my team is sitting at 6-1 and atop the NFC North. But that doesn’t mean that the 5-3 Green Bay Packers aren’t out of sight, out of mind. They are, and as we’ve learned in the past, it’s not the horse that starts the race strong but the one that wins it.
As the Bears learned in week two, the Packers defense presents matchup problems for the Bears offense. For whatever reason, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has their number. That being said, the Bears defense plays well against the Packers offense. Unless the Bears find a solid offensive game plan, the Packers defense will continue to be an issue. Ironically enough, the Packers defense seems to find its mojo against the Bears.
It is quite frustrating to watch the Bears try and find an offensive identity. The have more weapons than in year’s past, but the results aren’t showing up on the scoreboard. Plus, they have one of the league’s best running attacks and yet they don’t seem to use it as often as this Bears fan would like. Obviously Brandon Marshall is a talented wide receiver, but the Bears will win by establishing a running game.
On the other hand, the Packers will win and lose on the arm of Rodgers. When the Bears try to play this style, it is a recipe for disaster as the team learned in week two. The Bears will never beat the Packers by throwing the football, and yet they continue to think this is the way to go. It drives this fan nuts.
The whole goal in today’s NFL is to make the playoffs. The Packers look like they’re in good shape to make the post-season, but injuries are starting to pile up for the Green and Gold. In addition to Greg Jennings that required surgery, Aaron Rodgers’ other favorite target Jordy Nelson missed last week’s action with a hamstring injury. Defensively, cornerback Charles Woodson broke his collarbone and is expected to miss at least a month. Other key contributors like John Kuhn aren’t able to answer the bell. It is becoming a theme for the Packers. But let’s not forget that two years ago, the Packers overcame several injuries on their way to a Super Bowl win. The Bears aren’t in the same boat, but if Jay Cutler continues to take a beating, this could change quickly.
With the Minnesota Vikings beginning to fade and the Detroit Lions still barely hanging around, the NFC North looks like it will come down to the Bears and Packers. After the Bears have another winnable game against the Tennessee Titans, their schedule becomes much more difficult. They host the Houston Texans the following Sunday night before playing at the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. They come home for games against the Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, then travel to the Vikings before hosting the Packers on Dec. 16 at Soldier Field. Before playing the Bears, the Packers host the fading Arizona Cardinals, then will have their bye week before traveling to play the Lions and New York Giants. They return to Lambeau Field and host the Vikings and Lions before the Bears matchup.
Let’s assume that the teams don’t completely fall apart in the next few weeks, so both teams should be within one or two games. Losing two games to the Packers isn’t a formula for respect. But if the Bears split with the Packers, all will be well in Chicago, though a second loss will have everyone in a panic.
That’s all for now. You can follow me @ChicagoBearJew and Hashtag #RML with your thoughts.