Early Bird Breakdown Week 4: Packers @ Bears
Hello all! After a constant shuffling over at my new home, I have once again, and for the remainder of the season, settled back in as the early Sunday morning preview for the Packers. Without further ado, the recap:
The Recap: Packers @ Lions
For the first time all season, Green Bay showed promise on defense. They were able to generate some pressure, urn overs, and up until the end when they were fatigued, were pretty good against Reggie Bush and the running game. The offense, especially the offensive line, looked pitiful. Green Bay should be used to offensive line issues, as the unit has never been particularly effective in the Ted Thompson era, though this year they look especially sour. To top it off, McCarthy made a critical boneheaded playcall at the Packers one yard line to run Lacy with no lead blocker into a defense that had driven the offensive line back nearly two yards on each snap, run or pass. It was clearly going to be a safety when the Packers lined up. Rodgers also appears to be getting annoyed, only trusting Nelson and Cobb (throwing a combined 58% of his passes their way, the highest percentage two receivers have ever had with Rodgers). The best example was when Adams ran off the line on a WR screen, something the Packers have been running for years and Rodgers threw it into Adams’ dust. Green Bay hopefully cleared its head in practice this week. The final score was 19-7 Lions.
Packers’ Offense vs. Bears’ Defense:
So far this season, the Lions are the number one defense in total yards. The last three opponents Green Bay has faced had the three best run-defense units in the NFL last season. Chicago was one of the worst run defenses in NFL history last season. Chicago has improved…to 26th in the league in run defense in the early season. If Green Bay is going to finally run the ball, it will be this week. Make no mistake, while Rodgers historically has owned the Bears (9-3 overall with a 21-8 touchdown to interception ratio), this offense sits 28th in the league in yards overall. Rodgers is under constant duress and the team cannot run because the line cannot push anyone off. This is why Starks has had flashes of brilliance early so far as he is more elusive than Lacy, who is more of the downhill runner. If Green Bay’s line can hold up, the Packers will be able to move the ball very effectively against a suspect Chicago defense ranked 23rd overall. Chicago may be without Jared Allen Sunday, which will give the Packers a huge boost as this offensive line needs all the help it can get.
Packers’ Defense vs. Seahawks’ Offense:
Green Bay’s defense needs to play at least as good as it did in the first three quarters in Detroit last weekend to give Green Bay a shot to win with the way the offense has struggled. Green Bay’s run defense fell apart down the stretch from fatigue since the offense couldn’t stay on the field, but it looked better than it had previously. Still, Green Bay is the 30th ranked rush defense this season, a fact that should be extra shameful since the historically bad Bears defense of last season has been slightly better in the early season. Where Green Bay has excelled is they are currently sixth in the league in pass defense. This was a major backbreaker in the last three seasons, but it looks like the Packers have finally fixed the problem. The reason for their success is a few factors, one is Julius Peppers who in the early goings has been terrorizing quarterbacks and forcing bad decisions. Clay Matthews looks 100% right now, which has been the best barometer for the Packers defense in recent years. Haha Clinton-Dix, who is still being rotated periodically in, has made some rookie mistakes as well as some big, touchdown-saving pass deflections, something sorely missed since Nick Collins’ neck injury. Marshall is a game time decision, which will be a nice bonus for Green Bay’s defense if he is out, but he limped his way out there against San Francisco so if he can, he will play this week.
The Weather Factor:
Weather will be a zero factor. With zero chance for rain, sunny skies, virtually no wind, and a comfortable 72o, the game will be in perfect playing and viewing condition.
Green Bay is coming off of a frustrating and bad loss. Chicago upset a pre-season Super Bowl contending San Francisco squad unveiling their new stadium. Fortunately for Green Bay, they have the quarterback who always seems to get it done against the Bears. The Bears have the worst defense Green Bay has played so far this season and an angry Rodgers might have something extra to prove this weekend. If Green Bay’s pass defense continues its early season level of dominance, they can contain this Bears attack as Cutler will try to force things. The game really will come down to Lacy and the offensive line if they can finally show some grit and toughness. The best chance the Packers have had all season to run as well as the probability this is the worst run defense Green Bay will see all season adds up to the best chance for a breakout day from the ground game. If Green Bay fails to run the ball today, against this defense, Green Bay will need to go back to the drawing board on a multitude of personnel, not just on the field but in the locker room and above. Still, historical trends against Chicago and the fact that Green Bay has it’s softest defense by far yet look like they can right the offensive ship as Chicago comes down from an emotional high in San Francisco. Final score 34-24 Green Bay over Chicago.
Jordy Nelson- Rodgers is targeting him at a historic pace, obvious start.
Randall Cobb- Rodgers surprising end-zone target, he continues to be the only other person besides Nelson Rodgers’ appears to trust.
Eddie Lacy – This one may seem a stretch, but if Lacy is gonna finally have a monster week, it would be this one.
Every other Packers’ receiver – Rodgers does not trust any of them like he did his old cast of characters, at least so far anyway. As new faces grow into new roles, Rodgers has honed in on Cobb and Nelson even more.
Brandon Marshall – Cutler has shown early favoritism for Jeffery. If Marshall limps out there, he is in a rough go against a talented secondary that has even quieted Calvin Johnson.
As always, go Pack go! Stu Weis -Journalism graduate 2012, Carroll University