Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears Top 5 Matchups to Watch For
Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears Top 5 Matchups to Watch For
The Green Bay Packers (9-4) will take on the Chicago Bears (8-5) at Soldier Fold Sunday afternoon with the NFC North division title on the line. The game will come down to several key matchups and whoever wins these competitions will win the game. What are the five key matchups every fan should watch for?
The Packers-Bears rivalry is the oldest in the NFL and it is one of the fiercest matchups in all of sports. The first meeting took place on November 27, 1921 in which Chicago defeated Green Bay 20-0. However, the Packers have owned the rivalry recently as they have won five straight including the 2010 NFC Championship game.
Sunday’s meeting will be the biggest since that postseason game as it could certainly determine the outcome of both teams this season. If Green Bay wins then they clinch the NFC North and have a very good shot at securing a first-round bye in the playoffs. If Chicago loses they could still very well finish the season 10-6 but could be only the second team in the last 23 years to miss the postseason with that record due to a tiebreaker with the Washington Redskins.
If the Packers lose to the Bears but still win their last two remaining games they will still clinch the division and a first-round bye is still in the works depending on what happens with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants. If Chicago wins all three of their remaining games, they will clinch a postseason berth but their seed will depend on what happens throughout the NFC over the last three weeks.
Regardless, this is a huge game with severe repercussions for whichever team does not win. Make sure to click through the slideshow to see the top five matchups to watch between the Packers-Bears.
#5 Matt Forte versus Packers Run Defense
Matt Forte is Chicago’s leading back and is someone Green Bay must keep an eye on Sunday. Forte has rushed for 834 yards on 192 carries with three touchdowns this season. Considering the Packers have had a somewhat difficult time stopping the run this season this is certainly a matchup worth watching for. Forte rushed for only 31 yards on seven carries in the Week 2 meeting because he was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury.
#4 Marshall Newhouse versus Julius Peppers
Left tackle Marshall Newhouse has certainly had his fair share of trouble stopping pass rushers this season along with the rest of the offensive line. Aaron Rodgers is the most sacked quarterback in all of football, which is disheartening because if he could stay upright the Packers would dominate opposing defenses. Defensive end Julius Peppers leads the Bears with seven sacks, two of which came against Green Bay earlier this year.
Newhouse must figure out a way to stop Peppers otherwise it will be difficult for the Packers to run their game plan. Speaking of run, Green Bay must utilize their new found rushing attack in order to slow down Chicago’s pass rush. On the other side of the coin, Peppers is getting paid plenty of money to disrupt offenses but he has yet to really establish himself in a game against the Packers since joining the Bears.
#3 Tramon Williams versus Brandon Marshall
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall had big words for the Packers’ secondary during his Wednesday press conference in which he refers to players such as Tramon Williams as being not physical enough to hang with him. He also went on to say how much he “dislikes the Packers” and how he wants nothing more than to get Williams in one-on-one coverage. It does not take a genius to figure out that this is going to be one of the biggest matchups of the game and one that could certainly affect the outcome of the contest.
Williams held Marshall to two catches for 24 yards in Week 2, the second best job by a cornerback this season against the big receiver. If Williams is able to neutralize Marshall once again then the Packers should win the game because Marshall makes up a majority of the Bears’ offensive production. On the other hand, if Marshall gets his way then Green Bay could very well be in trouble.
#2 Clay Matthews versus J’Marcus Webb
If you have not heard, Clay Matthews will play in Sunday’s contest. This is great news for the Packers that sends a cold chill down the spine of Bears’ fans. As much as fans in Green Bay want to see Matthews tear Chicago apart once again, it may not be as likely considering he has not been on the gridiron for the past five and a half weeks. However, if “Claymaker” is as good as everyone thinks he is he should still be able to create a ruckus.
Quarterback Jay Cutler has to be concerned with Matthews playing considering the outside linebacker recorded 3.5 sacks, seven tackles, three tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in their last meeting. Left tackle J’Marcus Webb had such a terrible performance that Cutler could be seen multiple times on camera screaming at his offensive lineman. Matthews’ disruption along with the rest of Green Bay’s pass rushers single-handedly won the game. It will be up to Webb and the offensive line to prevent that from happening again if the Bears want to win.
#1 Aaron Rodgers versus Bears Secondary
As in every game, if the Packers want to win Rodgers must be successful passing the ball. Chicago’s secondary has been outstanding against the pass this season as they rank sixth in the NFL with an average of 205.5 passing yards per game. The Bears area also among the best in the league when it comes to interceptions as they have recorded 21 picks. However, Rodgers completed 68.7 percent of his passes for 219 yards and one touchdown in Week 2 against Chicago.
The Packers will try and run the ball but the game will ultimately come down to if Rodgers and the offense can successfully move the chains through the air against the Bears’ secondary. Cornerback Tim Jennings will certainly be someone Green Bay must watch out for as he has eight interceptions this year.