Ryan: Upon first glance, this seems like a must-win game for the Packers. Dating back to last year’s Playoffs, Green Bay comes into this contest having been physically outplayed on both sides of the ball in two straight games. The Bears surged to a convincing defeat last week; Jerry Angelo gets canned and all of a sudden Chicago has two 6’3, 220 lb receivers. But Super Bowls aren’t won in September and the Packers have a really easy schedule for the following seven weeks: at Seahawks, Saints, at Colts, at Texans, at Rams, Jaguars, Cardinals. Even if the Packers lose tonight, they should go into their bye no worse than 5-4. So, while a loss would certainly be disheartening, it wouldn’t even be close to season-ending.
It was nice to see the Packers offense come alive in the second half this past Sunday. I really liked utilizing Randall Cobb out of the backfield and wouldn’t complain if they run the ball less than five times tonight. Greg Jennings is a big loss but it comes at a wide receiver position where the Packers are really deep. Green Bay should be fine on offense.
The biggest issue for the Packers will be how the defense plays. The Bears will score their points but Green Bay’s defense must capitalize on turnover opportunities when Jay Cutler throws balls up for grabs. I think this game will swing on whether or not the Packers secondary intercepts these errant passes. I’m also hoping to see a steady dose of this man in the Bears backfield:
I’ve got good vibes this week but it seems like Packers-Bears always comes down to the last five minutes. I see a scenario where the Packers are up 4 and Jay Cutler takes the ball on his own 20 with just under two minutes to play and two timeouts. Packers D comes up big and gets the stop. Packers win but Bears cover.
Asif: Color me unconvinced about the Bears. When you’re relying on a trio that’s as injury prone and erratic as Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Brandon Marshall to carry your offense it just doesn’t instill a ton of confidence in me.
As for the Packers, it is a little bit disconcerting that during their strong showing last season they didn’t face any real top-flight defenses (the best they faced was the Broncos) and when they finally had a game against one this year, the 49ers handled them pretty easily. That said, the Bears defense is much weaker than San Francisco’s so I don’t see Green Bay having much of a problem here. Packers cover.