It's no secret the Packers are hurting along the offensive line.
Left tackle Chad Clifton is not expected to play against the Bears Sunday night at Lambeau Field and right tackle Bryan Bulaga has already been declared out. Backup tackle Derek Sherrod is out for the season with a broken leg.
Green Bay is expected to line up with Marshall Newhouse at left tackle, where he has been a turnstile in pass protection, and left guard T.J. Lang will move to right tackle. Backup Evan Dietrich-Smith, who was famously stomped on earlier in the season by Ndamukong Suh, will take Lang's spot at left guard.
Bulaga and Sherrod were both injured last week in the 19-14 loss to the Chiefs.
"That's too bad they lost two of their starting tackles in the same game," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said, unconvincingly. "Too bad for them; good for us."
Packers coach Mike McCarthy isn't spending any time feeling sorry for himself.
"Obviously, yes, we're a little thin there," McCarthy admitted.
The Packers' coach realizes his line will be challenged by the Bears.
"The biggest challenge is always the next challenge," McCarthy said. "We've had injuries on the offensive line, no doubt. But Dietrich-Smith has played football for us, and he'll be prepared with a full week of preparation for this game. No different for T.J. We feel good about the opportunity to line up against these guys.
"I think their line is a strength of their defense, and their linebacker play is always excellent, so we feel that their line is playing very well and it's a big challenge for us."
The Bears' defensive line vs. the Green Bay offensive line is the most favorable matchup the visitors will enjoy in their 184th meeting with the Packers.
Defensive end Julius Peppers has been the Bears' best pass rusher all season. He picked up his 10th sack last week and has four in the last four games. The Bears hope to get defensive tackle Henry Melton back after he missed last week's game with a shin injury. Melton is second on the team with seven sacks
"Julius and all of those guys up front, I'm sure they're excited," Urlacher said. "Hopefully we can get pressure with (just the) four (linemen), like we have pretty much done all season long. If they can do that, we have a chance to play some Cover-2 in the back end and maybe get off the field pretty decently and get them in some bad situations in second-and-long and third-and-long."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 40 touchdown passes and just six interceptions this year, and it will take a solid performance by the defensive line to prevent him from making the Bears his latest victims.
"The key to containing him is trying to get pressure on him, and try to make him move around in the pocket," Peppers said. "Just keep him in the pocket and try to get him out of rhythm. Can't let him get a rhythm going early."
Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli says his group still has to take away the run before it can have a chance to stop the aerial attack.
"It sounds crazy," Marinelli said, "but every game you start by stopping the run. If you get out of whack with that run game, then you really get in trouble. And they've done a good job against us running the ball sometimes, so we've got to make sure we come in and slam the run. And then it's controlling the pocket. You've got to control the pocket because he hurts you with his legs."
The Packers rushed for an even 100 yards on the Bears in Week 3, but they needed 29 carries to do so, averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt. Since Week 6, the Bears have held six of nine opponents to 80 yards or less on the ground, and they should have similar success against the Packers' injury-weakened offensive line.
Then they "only" have to worry about Rodgers, the NFL's highest-rated quarterback.
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