Behind Enemy Lines: Part III

Our Scout.com experts, John Crist of Bear Report and Bill Huber of Packer Report, go Behind Enemy Lines to take a closer look at Monday's Week 16 matchup between the Bears and rival Packers at Soldier Field. Let's finish this three-part series with some matchups to watch and final predictions.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE
RB Matt Forte vs. LB A.J. Hawk:
Forte is one of the league's many standout rookie running backs. What separates Forte from the others is his pass-catching ability – he leads all NFL running backs with 58 catches.

That could be bad news for the Packers. More and more of late, opposing teams are feasting on the Green Bay linebackers by isolating tight ends and running backs against them. With Brandon Chillar, the Packers' best coverage linebacker, presumably occupied with Greg Olsen, it will be up to Hawk to deal with Forte. Hawk has been OK against the run but poor in pass coverage all season, and there are few better than Forte.

RT John Tait vs. DE Aaron Kampman: Green Bay's pass rush has been lacking all season long, with Cullen Jenkins sent to injured reserve and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila sent out to pasture, but Kampman has still had a solid year with 9.5 sacks. Kyle Orton has proven that he can throw the ball effectively if given time in the pocket, and the once-vaunted Packers secondary has been getting carved up the last several weeks despite their shutdown reputation. Credit Charles Woodson for making the switch from corner to safety for the better of the team after Atari Bigby got hurt, but Green Bay's defensive backfield hasn't been the same since.

If Tait can keep Kampman at bay and give Orton the comfort he needs to step up and deliver the football consistently, the Bears should be able to move the ball through the air despite a suspect group of wide receivers.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: PACKERS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
RT Tony Moll vs. DE Adewale Ogunleye:
Moll acquitted himself rather well last week in his starting debut in place of the injured Mark Tauscher, but his few mistakes were biggies. He allowed two sacks, one of which resulted in a fumble that Moll was fortunate to recover.


C Scott Wells
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

He'll be matched against the veteran Ogunleye, who's not what he used to be at 31 but he's more than crafty enough to take advantage of a lineman's mistakes. Ogunleye has five sacks this season, including two a few weeks ago against St. Louis, and had his first career interception in last week's win over New Orleans.

C Scott Wells vs. DT Anthony Adams: Dusty Dvoracek has always been the coaching staff's choice to start on the nose because he's a former third-round draft pick, even though Adams is the better player and doesn't have nearly the injury history. Once Dvoracek got moved to IR for the third time in three years as a pro, Adams reclaimed the starting job right next to Tommie Harris and has made a big difference in the trenches. The unheralded 2007 free-agent signing was credited with eight tackles in a Week 14 win over the Jaguars and five more in last Thursday's victory of the Saints – Chicago's front four, which looked out of gas when Adams was on the inactive list, has been jumpstarted again.

Ryan Grant ran all over the Bears with 145 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries back in Week 11, although that game featured Dvoracek getting tossed around like a ragdoll while Adams watched helplessly from the sideline.

THE PACKERS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
... they finish their drives. Lost in the shuffle of another late-game failing by the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers was the offense's inability to score touchdowns on two excursions inside the Jacksonville 10-yard line. Punch those in for touchdowns, and Green Bay wins with ease rather than losing its fourth straight. As poorly as the Packers defense has played for most of the season, the offense can't afford to settle for three points.


RB Matt Forte
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

THE PACKERS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
... it's close at the end. As every Packers fan knows, Green Bay is 0-6 in games decided by four points or less. Whether it's Rodgers' inability to lead a come-from-behind victory, the defense's penchant for yielding big plays at the worst times or the special teams allowing a long return, the Packers have figured out just about every way imaginable to lose a close game.

THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
... Forte isn't deep-sixed from the game plan right away like he was in the first contest. Since Green Bay took a 17-3 in the first 30 minutes and forced Chicago to play catch-up, Forte got only one rushing attempt in the second half and wasn't much of a factor after intermission. Get the rookie over 100 yards on the ground, which shouldn't be too hard since the Packers are just 26th in the league (138.2 yards per game allowed) defending the run, and the Bears should have a decided advantage.

THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
... Rodgers doesn't have to wash his jersey afterward, which probably was the case back in Week 11. The Chicago defensive line put together a pitiful performance at Lambeau Field, not only getting run over on the ground but also giving Rodgers all kinds of time to pick apart a struggling secondary. Brett Favre's replacement has make a few poor decisions in the fourth quarter lately, so putting as much pressure on him as possible will only increase the Bears' chances of getting a pick or two.

FINAL PREDICTIONS
Bill Huber:
Trailing 20-17 in the final minutes, Rodgers will lead the Packers into the red zone, only for one of the linemen to be flagged for holding. The Packers settle for a field goal, lose the overtime coin flip, then watch Forte turn a third-and-11 dump-off pass into a 40-yard gain to set up Robbie Gould's winning field goal ... BEARS 23, PACKERS 20.

John Crist: It will be very interesting to see how the Bears respond because they will know the result of the Vikings game on Sunday before taking the field under the Monday night lights. Should Minnesota lose at home to the surging Falcons, then Lovie Smith and Co. will smell blood in the water as they look to get back atop the NFC North; a Minnesota victory, however, locks up the division, and Chicago's motivation could take a nosedive. Either way, Green Bay has been thinking about January tee times for a few weeks now. ... BEARS 27, PACKERS 17.

To go back and read Part I, where Bill answers five questions from John, Click Here. For Part II, where John answers five questions from Bill, Click Here.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report. Bill Huber is the Publisher of Packer Report.


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