After a humiliating performance against Detroit and the saga of Martellus Bennett, the Green Bay Packers are now a team in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The only way to correct that is to get back on track and win. They have an opponent who is just in that wheelhouse in Chicago.
The Bears are still in the midst of a rebuild with rookie Mitchell Trubisky and Tarik Cohen as focal points on a struggling offense and a defense that may be overachieving compared to their talent level. That makes them ripe for the picking. So let’s see how the Packers can win and if I think they will in 3…2…1…
3 KEY PLAYERS
1. Lance Kendricks
One of the silver linings of the Bennett fiasco is the chance for Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers to assert themselves as future pieces of the Packers. Kendricks has shown flashes in severely limited snaps, but as the de facto number one tight end, it’s his chance to emerge as a weapon. He worked a lot with Brett Hundley, both in the preseason and on the scout team in practice. That familiarity may help to open some things up in the middle of the field, and it’ll have to for the Packers offense to look anything like an NFL caliber one.
2. Kenny Clark
Clark has been an absolute beast all season, making a huge jump in his sophomore season. With 27 tackles on the season, Clark is exceeding expectations as a traditional nose tackle, looking like the seocnd coming of BJ Raji. With his strength and athleticism, he’ll have the chance to be the first wave of defenders up against Cohen and Jordan Howard. He’ll have to hold his own at the very worst and hopefully control the trenches for the Packer defense.
3. Justin Vogel
This game has a chance to be a throwback, smash mouth Packers-Bears game. That means that field position will be at the utmost importance, even more than usual. And that means that Vogel, who has been very good all year, has to be at his very best. Averaging almost 46 yard per punt, the former Miami Hurricane will need to flip the field when he has the chance. He also will have to be consistent and error-free holding for Mason Crosby.
2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
1. Brett Hundley has a QB Rating over 90
The Bears have a pretty strong run defense and will try to slow down the Packers rushing attack early. They want Hundley to beat them. And Brett will do enough to get the job done. He won’t be super flashy, but he will be mistake free and with Kendricks bringing a new element to the passing game with his speed, Hundley will connect on one or two shots down the field this time, letting the Packers breathe a little bit.
2. Struggling Packers pass rush gets at least 3 sacks.
The Packers pass rush has been a massive disappointment through the first 8 games of the season. They had a promising start early on, but injuries to Nick Perry and Ahmad Brooks have really drained them of any momentum. Brooks could be back for the Bears game and if he can mix in with Perry, Clay Matthews, Vince Biegel, and everyone’s new least favorite player Kyler Fackrell, they can take advantage of a large but slower Bears offensive line.
1 GAME PREDICTION
The Packers have to win this game, and they will, 24-13, giving them a massive confidence boost.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.