Bears-Packers Breakdown

Brett Favre has dominated the Bears throughout his career, but he's never faced a Chicago defense that's as talented as the current group. Will it be enough to end his 11-game winning streak at Soldier Field? We look at each teams game plan, the matchups to watch as well as player and coach reaction.

The Bears' front four, which has been a pass-rush terror lately, will be coming after Packers QB Brett Favre with its ears pinned back, expecting to force the old gunslinger into mistakes that he has been making at an alarming rate this season. Bears DEs Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye have nine sacks in the last two games, and it isn't expected that they'll have much stay-at-home responsibility against a Green Bay offense that is No. 31 in rushing yards.

"He's the kind of the guy that's going to throw it to you, he's going to give you some chances," Ogunleye said of Favre and his league high 19 interceptions. "We've just got to get after him the same way we've been doing these last couple weeks."

With the weather getting colder and rookie QB Kyle Orton not making huge strides in his development, the Bears will continue to accentuate their No. 6 running game, especially since the Packers' run defense has been below average.

"I try my best to watch a lot of film because I know defenses are probably going to put a lot of guys around the ball in the box," Jones said. "Really, there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to produce somehow.

"I just try to do my best to watch film, to try to figure out what position they're going to be in so if I catch them out of position I know which cut to make so I can get more yards."

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

  • Packers QB Brett Favre, who leads the NFL with 19 interceptions but has a career record of 12-1 as a visitor against the Bears, vs. CB Nathan Vasher, who is tied for third in the NFL with six interceptions.

    "The guys have been playing so well up front they make our job on the back end so much easier. We want to get a lot of pressure in Brett's face," Vasher said. "He doesn't like pressure. We're hoping for the ball to come out and get some turnovers."

  • Packers WR Donald Driver, who leads the team by wide margins with 59 catches and 844 yards, vs. Bears CB Charles "Peanut" Tillman, who has been scorched by the Panthers' Steve Smith and the Bucs' Joey Galloway the past two weeks.

    PACKERS GAME PLAN
    Having been eliminated from the NFC North title chase and subjected to their first losing season since 1991, the 2-9 Packers have little to play for the last month of the season. However, two games in the next four weeks against longtime rival Chicago should be incentive to try to salvage something out of an atrocious campaign. What's more, the three-time reigning division champions are in the rare position to spoil the Bears' march toward this year's crown.

    "Right now if we beat them we are still 3-9. It would make the locker room feel much better that we're still a playoff-caliber team," Driver said. "A lot of people know we have been losing games by 1, 3, 7 points. We just have to get over that hump."

    Green Bay's sputtering offense, though, has the unenviable task of contending with Chicago's ferocious, top-rated defense. It's imperative the Packers get some semblance of a sufficient running attack to not only sustain long drives but also keep the Bears out of their Cover 2 scheme bent on goading Brett Favre into more careless throws to his inexperienced receiving corps. A mistake-free game is a must for the Packers to possibly spring the upset, but that's asking a lot out of a patchwork unit fighting the turnover bug of late.

    "I think they're playing outstanding," Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman said the Chicago defense. "They're playing aggressive, they're playing fast, they play collectively very well together. The 11 guys play the defense they play very well."

    Chicago, with its penchant for pounding the football, also is catching the Packers defense at the right time. No longer the bright spot of the dismal season, the run defense has been gashed for an average of 156 yards the last four games.

    MATCHUPS TO WATCH

  • Packers RT Mark Tauscher and LT Chad Clifton vs. Bears DEs Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown. Tauscher and Clifton, whose combined play on a shaky offensive line this season has generally been beyond reproach, will have their hands full dealing with the league's most dynamic pass-rushing duo. Clifton especially will be under the gun in lining up against Brown most of the time. Clifton is susceptible to false-start penalties and will have to be precise getting off with the snap to keep the speedy Brown from wreaking more havoc than he already has in the backfield and putting QB Brett Favre in danger.

    "When he's on they have to pay attention to him, they have to slide to him," Brown said of Ogunleye. "That means I have to beat my man one on one and in this league that's all you can ask for is one on one. If you can beat that more times than not you'll make a lot of plays."

  • Bears RB Thomas Jones vs. Packers defensive front. The last three times he's played against Green Bay, Jones has rushed for 100-plus yards, averaging 131 per outing. He had a 152-yard effort in an upset win on the road last season. The once-stalwart Packers rush defense has rolled over for Minnesota's Mewelde Moore and Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook the last two weeks, and both of those backs aren't in the same echelon as Jones.

    "Well we know what we are. We know what our identity is," said Chicago center Olin Kreutz. "And we know what we're going to try to do and people can criticize us as much as they want but that's what we do. We're going to run the ball and depend on our defense."


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