Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – Preview
By Ha Kung Wong Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
The Chicago Bears took a step back against a tough Denver Broncos defense, having a chance to tie the game at the end with a 2 point conversion, but unfortunately audibling into an ill fated run play with Jeremy Langford getting stuffed at the line. Now the Bears get one of the toughest tests in the league, having to face their longtime rival Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. The Packers are currently favored by 9, and the Bears haven’t beaten the Packers since 2013, but do the Bears have a chance at an upset to potentially keep post-season hopes alive?
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Believe it or not, the Green Bay Packers defense has not been good.
They allowed 368.6 yards per game to opposing offenses, good for 21st in the league. And if you look at the Packers defense against the pass and run, they’re equally bad at 23rd and 22nd in the league. What’s interesting is that even though they allow plenty of yards, they allow the 8th least amount of points per game to opposing offenses (19.8). Essentially, the Packers are sporting a bend-but-don’t-break defense that’s effectively kept them in games even when their offense sputters. Which has been happening a lot recently due to injuries, a suddenly fat and slow Eddie Lacy and a strangely stone-handed Randall Cobb. But after dropping three straight, the Packers righted the ship against the then NFC North leading Minnesota Vikings. Even Eddie Lacy managed his first 100+ yard game of the season.
After posting 37 points on the 5th best scoring defense in the league in Week 10, the Bears fell flat against the Denver Broncos in Week 11. Backup RB Jeremy Langford was held in check, Alston Jeffery wasn’t able to suit up, and Jay Cutler threw two critical INTs late in the game (though one was a tip drill caused by the Broncos d-line). As it stands, Matt Forte should return, Alshon Jeffery is questionable, and both Martellus Bennett and Eddie Royal have been ruled out. If Jeffery is out again, I’d assume there will be a heavy dose of Matt Forte, Jeremy Langford and Zach Miller.
Interestingly, since Jay Cutler’s return from injury, the Bears have won 4 of 7, with all three loses by 3 points or less. If the Bears can limit turnovers, there’s a chance they can keep this competitive.
As I’ve mentioned since week 10, the Bears defense has been quietly having a good year, remaining 4th against the pass, and moving up slightly to 25th against the run.
But let’s make this simple. The Packers offense is good regardless who catches or runs the ball. Sure, they’re not as high powered as we’ve seen in the past, but Aaron Rodgers has a knack for finding open receivers, and although Randall Cobb, Devante Adams and James Jones have been having trouble getting separation and suffered from the dropsies, it only takes one blown coverage for Rodgers to take control of the game. Even with issues moving the chains, the Packers are still 9th in the NFL in terms of points scored per game (24.9). With Eddie Lacy rounding back into form facing a weak Bears run defense, I wouldn’t be surprised if the old Packers offense finds its mojo this week.
I thought the Bears would be able to pull out the win last week against the Broncos so as not to make this a “do-or-die” game for their season, but here we are. Rodgers and the Packers always play well against the Bears, and it won’t be any different this Thanksgiving.
Chicago Bears 17 – Green Bay Packers 27