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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bears vs. Packers Has Looked Ugly, About to Get Uglier

The Chicago Bears are heading up to Lambeau Field for a Monday night party with the Packers, so I should feel psyched, pumped and geeked! But right now I'm full of dread and misery looking at what could be disastrous, one-sided showdown where the Bears are on the wrong end of a brutal pasting. 

The Bears are riddled with injury including some of their best players on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Jay Cutler will be in street clothes and right next to him will be Lance Briggs. These are two big injuries that are really going to be hard for the Bears to endure.

It's difficult to say which one is a bigger loss. A team never wants to lose its starting quarterback, but the Bears have a capable backup in Josh McCown. He doesn't have Cutler's ability to throw a deep ball or arm strength, but he has enough skill and weapons around him to keep the sticks moving and score a few touchdowns.

Coach Marc Trestman's system also should play to McCown's strengths, allowing him to get rid of the ball quickly to his receivers and running back Matt Forte. McCown isn't going to dazzle on Monday night, but he still could put together a nice night for himself. Also consider Green Bay's defense, although playing better lately, isn't anything to write home about.

If McCown doesn't get his jersey too dirty and can limit turnovers, the offense should be O.K.

Besides, Jay Cutler is 1-7 against the Packers in his career, so maybe it's a blessing in disguise that he won't play.
Briggs is a serious blow to the defense, as he was the man who called the plays and got everybody into position when the opposing offense took to the line of scrimmage. Briggs was also playing better than anyone else on that defense before enduring a shoulder injury.
That being said, even with a healthy Lance Briggs this Bears defense has been horrifying.

With fellow starting linebacker D.J. Williams out due to injury, that leaves the Bears starting two rookies at linebacker Monday in Jon Bostic in the middle and fourth-round pick Khaseem Greene at the Will. The defensive line has guys playing out of position with two starting tackles lost for the season to injury, last year's first-round pick Shea McLelllin doing next to nothing and Julius Peppers has been disappointing this season. Starting cornerback Charles Tillman has started plenty of games this season, but has a bad habit of not being well enough to finish them. Top that off with two safeties in Major Wright and Chris Conte who don't seem to understand that the cover-2 defense means they have to be the two deepest guys on the field, and one has to wonder how the Bears are going to stop this Green Bay offense.
Aaron Rodgers has picked apart the Bears since becoming a starter in his career. In the last four games against the Bears he has completed 94 of 135 passes (69.6%) and has a TD-to-INT ratio of 12:2. Rodgers is playing as well as any quarterback in the league and has the leisure of facing a Bears defense that couldn't mount anything against a mediocre Redskins offense two weeks ago. The Bears defense is beaten, battered and bruised and Rodgers is going to have a field day against them.
The Packers also have a credible run game with Eddy Lacey proving that he nearly was worthy of a first-round pick averaging 74 yards a game and 4 yards per carry. The Bears have let everybody run on them this season, and there is no reason to think they won't let Lacey do the same. They gave up 209 rushing yards in their last game against the Redskins, so one can imagine what Lacey might be able to do them.
Two things need to happen if the Bears are going to have a prayer of winingMonday night. First is if Matt Forte has a big night on the ground, eating clock and yards (ignore the fact the Packers have the fourth best run defense). Secondly, Julius Peppers must wake up and find ways to get to Rodgers or at least command double or triple teams to let others get into the backfield. Otherwise, this could wind up being a long Monday night for Bears fans.

by Casey Moffitt

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