Five Keys to Victory

While the Bears should be able to sweep the Packers for the first time since 1991, there are aspects of the game they need to execute in order to accomplish the feat.

Protect the Quarterback
Rex Grossman is making his first start since Sept. 26, 2004. He looked good in the second half against the Falcons last week considering the performance came with only about 25 percent of the first team reps. With a full week of practice with the first team offense, Grossman should be able to take another step with his game. Giving him time to throw in the pocket will be important to keep him healthy and to try to find holes in Green Bay's 2nd ranked pass defense.

Pressure No. 4
Brett Favre is the only thing standing between the Bears and their first NFC North crown. After beating the Bears 20 of 24 times, Favre has dropped 2 of 3 decisions to Chicago. He turned the ball over four times in the meeting three weeks ago and when he had defenders closing in on him the ball went up for grabs. That means the Bears secondary will have an opportunity to add to their total of 20 interceptions.

Get Out Early
The Packers have lost 4 of 5 games and are coming off a 48-3 thrashing at the hands of Baltimore. One could argue they have more to gain by losing than winning because it would give them a better chance to land USC RB Reggie Bush. However, the Packers would like nothing more than to stave off a celebration on Lambeau Field and to make the Bears sweat out their playoff chase for another week with a win. The longer the Bears let Green Bay stay in the game the more confidence the Packers will gain. If Chicago jumps out to an early lead it could be a cruise to the division title and a first round bye.

Moose Hunting
In the first matchup of the year, WR Muhsin Muhammad didn't catch a single ball for the time in 47 regular season games. Green Bay CB Al Harris had something to do with that, but so did the inaccurate throws of Kyle Orton. Muhammad has great chemistry with Grossman and the quarterback will look to get his best receiver involved in the offense early, as he did on first pass attempt last week against Atlanta. Through 14 games, Muhammad has 59 receptions for 692 yards and three touchdowns. The numbers are well off from his 93 catches for 1,405 yards and 16 scores last season, but with Grossman throwing him the ball, Muhammad could see a spike in his stats.

Field Position Battle
Both teams come into the meeting with key members of their special teams hurt or missing. Green Bay punter B.J. Sander was put on injured reserve earlier in the week. The Packers signed Ryan Flinn off the street to handle the duties instead of allowing placekicker Ryan Longwell to pull double duty. Chicago kick returner Jerry Azumah had his hip flare up on him late in the week and is questionable for the game. If he's unable to go then Bernard Berrian is likely to field both punts and kickoffs for the Bears.


Bear Report Top Stories