Packers digest is finally back! The Packers currently sit at 2-1, and last week’s game was a classic. The Packers fell behind early to the Bengals, but some Aaron Rodgers magic and a couple key stops helped the Packers finish them off in overtime.
That win showed us a few things. First off, Geronimo Allison can be a big part of this offense, especially when the Packers need him to step up. The second year wide receiver posted a 6/122 line on Sunday, his best game so far in Green Bay. Second, Josh Jones and Kevin King have really bright futures. King lined up against A.J. Green a bunch on Sunday and held his own for the most part. Jones, however, flew around like a cruise missile and tackled everyone in sight. His best tackle of the game was stopping Tyler Kroft in his tracks on third down to force a Bengals punt in overtime. Third, the Packers will have offensive issues if their tackles continue to miss games. Kyle Murphy and Justin McCray didn’t look good on Sunday. Murphy was consistently beat by rookie defensive end Carl Lawson on Sunday.
However, a win is a win. On to Chicago.
A Struggle For The Pack?
The Bears come in with some momentum after downing the Steelers in overtime thanks to their running backs. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen have quickly become a great complementary duo in the backfield. The Bears front also made things difficult for Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game.
The Packers have had issues with the Bears in recent seasons. Last year, the Packers did take both games, but it took 56 passes from Rodgers at home and a bomb to Jordy Nelson on the road to down them.
This first meeting between the two will certainly be different.
Controlling The Trenches
This is where the game will definitely be decided. On one side of the matchup, the Bears bring a nasty front seven that can wreak havoc and get to the quarterback. The Packers enter with their first four tackles on the depth chart sidelined. On paper, this does not bode well for the Packers. It’s likely that Adam Pankey and Justin McCray get the start at the tackle spots. However, the Packers could move Lane Taylor to tackle and use some depth at the guard spot. Either way, it doesn’t look good.
However, the Packers aren’t doomed. They still have the league’s best quarterback. Aaron Rodgers can still make things happen, even with this looming disadvantage along the line. Green Bay will surely have a gameplan for this, and it could look a lot like last October’s Thursday night matchup. The Packers will likely utilize the quick passing game to get things rolling early.
Having Randall Cobb back is a big deal, as he was the best receiver through two weeks. He will be able to open things up over the middle of the field with his quickness. Obviously we will see Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson get work in too. Nelson will also see the slot to create a mismatch from time to time. One under the radar guy to watch will be Lance Kendricks. He played very well last week and has the speed to stretch the field and create openings underneath.
The Packers will look to run the ball as well, but it might be tough for Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams to find openings. Montgomery will certainly get looks in the passing game, and he will be another slot option the Packers can utilize.
Let’s shift to the other matchup in the trenches. The Bears will look to provide a heavy dose of Jordan Howard early. With Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, and Josh Sitton, the Bears certainly have a dominant group assembled.
The biggest issue is that Mike Daniels is out again. This will put pressure on young guns Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry to get a push and eat space in the run game. They both had good games last week, but this week’s test is on another level. The Bears are going to make things easy for Mike Glennon if they can. It’s up to the defensive line to make things difficult. The good news for the Packers is that Nick Perry is active and will play. While Clay Matthews and Ahmad Brooks are pass rushers, Perry also does damage against the run.
The Bears do have a weakness at tackle. With Perry, Matthews, and Brooks, the Packers should live in the backfield on passing downs. The key word here is should. We’ve seen this group have spurts of good play, but we’re waiting for the good game as a unit. Tonight needs to be the night against a weak tackle duo.
How Do The Pack Stop The Bears Best Receiving Option?
He’s a rookie, but Tarik Cohen is a nightmare in the passing game. With limited options at receiver, the Bears could use Cohen in multiple ways to get him the ball. Cohen reminds many of Dion Lewis with his elusiveness, but he’s also as electric as Darren Sproles. This presents an issue.
However, the Packers could have the medicine for this headache. Rookie safety Josh Jones played a fantastic game last week. He had a real feel for where to be, and he flew to the ball all game long. He’s not afraid to take on anyone. Him, along with the rest of the secondary, need to wrap up on Cohen, or big plays are in their future.
Offense: Lance Kendricks – With all the receivers back and healthy, Kendricks could be an afterthought for the Bears defense. That’s why he’s someone to watch out for. Kendricks has that speed to stretch the field, and he’s been a more reliable target than Martellus Bennett. He could see some looks and make some big plays when he is needed.
Defense: Dean Lowry – It’s about controlling and limiting the Bears ground game. Lowry has the strength and leverage to win up front. Plus, he can run guys down from the opposite side. If he plays well, the Packers can dial up the pressure on Glennon and make things difficult.
How Will The Game Play Out?
This game could go a couple of ways. If the Bears have their way running the football, the Packers could end up playing from behind. If that happens, the Bears could give the Packers a lot of man-to-man looks, which has been the Packers kryptonite the last couple seasons. Aaron Rodgers might have to pull a rabbit out of his hat while running for his life.
On the other hand, if the Pack can limit the Bears running game and get on the board early, the Bears struggle to play catch up. The Packers haven’t started fast in any game this season, so we will see what they have in store tonight.
Either way, this game has the feel of a game that will go down to the wire.
Packers 20, Bears 16.