Bear Down - Week 2 Preview
What better to wash the bitter taste of a Week 1 defeat out of the mouths of Packer fans than a primetime matchup with the Chicago Bears? And it's a quick turnaround too. After Sunday's late afternoon start, the Packers and Bears are in action today, just four days later.
It's all roses for Chicago, who dismantled rookie quarterback Andrew Luck on Sunday 41-21, but the Packers will be looking for revenge against their hated rivals. Let's take a look at tonight's matchup through a descending series of numbers I'm going to try to work into each preview from here on out. I'm (so very originally) titling it The Countdown. So, without further ado...
5 - Touchdowns thrown by Aaron Rodgers the last time the Bears and Packers met. That Christmas Day 2011 matchup was a 35-21 win for Green Bay, including two each to Jordy Nelson and James Jones. He also passed Lynn Dickey that day for the all-time Packers' record for passing yards in a season.
4 - Consecutive wins by the Packers against the Bears. They've also won six of the last seven against their divisional opponent.
3 - Combined rushing touchdowns by Bears' running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush. The tandem rushed for 122 yards Chicago's offensive coordinator Mike Tice says he wants to emphasize the run game this year, which could spell a bit of trouble for a Packer run defense that was gashed (or is that gored?) by Frank Gore last weekend.
2 - Back to back losses by the Packers, dating back to last season's playoff loss to the Giants. It's their first two game losing streak since they lost to the Lions and Patriots back to back in the 2010 season.
1 - Wins needed by the Packers to get back to .500. Yeah, it's early. Yeah, the 49ers loss was just one game. But 1-1 looks a heck of a lot better than 0-2.
Player to Watch
Bears WR Brandon Marshall - Marshall had 10 catches for 132 yards the last time he visited Lambeau Field, including 7 for 102 in the first half. Chad Henne of the Miami Dolphins was throwing him the ball back then, so Marshall is apt to be even more dangerous this time around. Tramon Williams is expected to be shadowing Marshall tonight, and he'll probably have his hands pretty full this time around.
The Pick - Packers 31 Bears 20
I admit, picking the Packers to win by double digits makes me a little bit nervous, although the Packers are 5.5 point favorites, according to Las Vegas. Lovie Smith seems to do well against Green Bay, and the Bears should have plenty of confidence coming off a big win Sunday. But Green Bay should be motivated as well, and playing at home I'm hoping they have an advantage.
One More Thing
Although nobody would argue Green Bay's defense did well Sunday, their defensive rankings don't necessarily look bad in every area. They're ranked number one in the league in sacks and number six in pass defense. The Bears gave up three sacks on Sunday and have had major questions across the offensive line over the past couple years. Covering Brandon Marshall could be a lot easier if Jay Cutler is on his back.