The momentum is now back in Titletown and now we approach Thanksgiving with another big division game staring the Packers in the face. This time it’s the Bears coming to town and this game has a lot of emotion in it.
With the Brett Favre retirement ceremony occurring Thursday night, it is imperative that the Packers show up to play Thursday night. Add in the fact that it is another division game and the stakes are even higher. There is so much at stake with this game, from extending their grip on the division to the battle for a potential first round bye that the Packers have to build off their win Sunday night. So with this game only two days away, let’s read this week’s version of 3…2…1…
For those of you who are new, please feel free to go into my archives to read past countdowns, and keep up with reading this series as the season goes on. For those who are consistent readers, feel free to skip down to the next subheading. But 3…2…1… is a series in which I will countdown ways for the Packers to win their game each week. I will highlight 3 key matchups, make 2 bold predictions, and then focus on 1 key stat. So let’s dive into it.
3 KEY MATCHUPS
- Kyle Fuller vs. Randall Cobb
- Cobb as we all know has been off the past couple of weeks, especially when it comes to catching the ball. But this week he needs to step up and become the #1 receiver that he was projected to be at the beginning of the season. With James Jones coming back last week from a month of struggles, Cobb can continue to work underneath and exploit the Bears secondary. Fuller will probably draw the assignment as the Bears best cover man. And while he has struggled, the Bears know more than any other team how dangerous Cobb is. They haven’t forgotten his performance last year.
- Eddie Lacy vs Eddie Goldman
- Sunday afternoon we got to see the return of the battering ram that is Eddie Lacy. Apparently all he needed was a benching and a week off after all the problems he had before. He looked like a new runner against Minnesota, driving the pile forward every time and not struggling in any way to keep his legs going. He looks to work even more toward returning to his 2014 form and that makes Eddie Goldman’s job more difficult. The Vikings had a stronger defense than the Bears and look what Lacy did there.
- Mason Crosby vs Robbie Gould
- The Battle of the Kickers. So exciting, right? But it is incredibly important for each team to have their kicker be exceptional and outplay their counterpart. Crosby and Gould are two of the greatest kickers in the game today and their abilities need to shine this week for each team to have a chance.
2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
- Eddie Lacy will run for over 150 yards
- Similar to the points I made in the matchups, Lacy looked rejuvenated Sunday. Whether it was prayer, or renewed motivation from being benched, or something else, he was exceptional in the second half. And I look for him to get even better this week against a weaker defense. The Bears have been susceptible to good backs and Lacy knows how important he is to this offense. I expect a monster game to shut up the critics and lead the team to a victory.
- Jeff Janis will return another kickoff for over 50 yards
- Micah Hyde looks to be lost for this week and even if he was healthy, Janis was so strong as the returner that he should keep the job. He is so explosive and so dangerous in the open field that he makes everyone on the kick coverage team think twice about going full bore at the returner. If they make one small mistake, Janis can make him pay and I expect that to happen again Thursday.
1 KEY STAT
- Completion percentage
- A lot has been made recently about the fact that Aaron Rodgers didn’t complete 50% of his passes against Minnesota. It didn’t matter the fact that he had a lot of drops, but he has been dominant against the Bears and with the re-emergence of Lacy and the running game, I expect an efficient and explosive game from Rodgers. More quick passes, out routes, as well as some deep sideline throws will lead to a 70% game, which will be more than enough to take down Jay Cutler.
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.