MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE
The Packers defense showed one flaw in the preseason, and that was the middle of the pass defense. Neither inside linebacker A.J. Hawk nor safety Atari Bigby are great in coverage, and inside linebacker Nick Barnett is still sort of an unknown as he comes back from a torn ACL.
WR Devin Hester vs. CBs Al Harris and Charles Woodson: Nobody outside the Windy City believes Hester has what it takes to be a No. 1 receiver in this league, but he'll have a chance to prove those doubters wrong right out of the gate in Week 1. Harris and Woodson are both notoriously tough near the line of scrimmage, and Chicago wideouts were dreadful last year getting off the jam. Hester is fast enough to run circles around both Green Bay corners, but that won't matter if he can't get into his routes.
If Olsen can occupy the middle of the field and keep those safeties busy, then Hester will have room to roam provided he gets that initial separation.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: PACKERS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
TE Jermichael Finley vs. LB Pisa Tinoisamoa: Not only does Green Bay have a stable full of wide receivers ready to make big plays when called upon, but Finley leapfrogged Donald Lee on the depth chart and could be a great tight end one day. Tinoisamoa was a weak-side linebacker with the Rams, meaning he had to cover backs in the passing game. But now that he's on the strong side, he needs to prove he can handle bigger and stronger tight ends in coverage.
The Bears are in big trouble if Tinoisamoa can't keep Finley in check by himself and needs safety help, as that will open up even more one-on-one looks for the likes of Greg Jennings and Donald Driver down the field.
GREEN BAY WINS IF ...
GREEN BAY LOSES IF ...
CHICAGO WINS IF ...
CHICAGO LOSES IF ...
John Crist: Since Green Bay features one of the best passing games in the NFL and looks primed to do some major damage through the air this season, Chicago couldn't have a worse matchup in the opener. Even if Charles Tillman does line up at his familiar left cornerback position, he's had two surgeries since he last put on a uniform and will be surrounded by inexperience in the secondary. Look for Cutler and Co. to move the ball consistency against the Pack's new 3-4 system, but not enough to get the job done. PACKERS 27, BEARS 23.
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Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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