Sunday Snapshot: Bears vs. Packers

The Scout.com NFL experts chip in with everything you need to know just before Sunday's prime-time showdown between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 1. Keys to the game, injury reports, fast facts, personnel news and a whole lot more.

SUNDAY SNAPSHOT
Kickoff: 7:20 p.m. Central
Surface: Grass
Television: NBC – Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Andrea Kremer
Series: 177th regular-season meeting. Bears lead the most frequently played series in NFL history, 90-80-6. Bears lost at Lambeau Field 37-3 last year but won the four previous meetings in Green Bay, all by seven points or more.

KEYS TO THE GAME
Lacking elite wideouts, new Bears QB Jay Cutler might be forced to go the route of the last meeting, when TEs Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark combined for nine receptions while the wide receivers totaled just three. The Packers' new 3-4 scheme was effective during the preseason, and CBs Al Harris and are still strong in coverage. RB Matt Forte will remain the key, as the Bears test the Packers' transformation and whether Green Bay has the defensive personnel up front to clog the rushing lanes. ... QB Aaron Rodgers enjoyed an excellent preseason, and the Packers would appear to have far more weapons in the passing game than the Bears' thin secondary can cope with. Chicago must rush the passer better than it did last season, but the mobile Rodgers wasn't brought down once during the preseason. Packers RB Ryan Grant enters this season healthy, and although he lacks elite speed, he rarely gets caught for negative plays.

FAST FACTS
The Bears have an NFL-best 172 takeaways since Lovie Smith took over as coach in 2004. ... These division rivals meet in Week 1 for just the third time in the past 28 years.


CB Charles Tillman
AP Images: Nam Y. Huh

PERSONNEL NEWS
Bears:
CB Charles Tillman (back) had his third straight day of full participation in practice in his first week back and remains a possibility to start Sunday. ... CB Zack Bowman continues to do everything at practice, and if Tillman (back) does not start, Bowman should replace Trumaine McBride in the starting lineup. ... S Danieal Manning (hamstring) has been back on the practice field for two weeks but may not be ready to retake his starting spot at free safety, although he could be the nickel back on Sunday and also return kickoffs. ... WR Devin Aromashodu, who saw time in the preseason as the No. 3, was limited at Thursday's practice with a quad injury and will probably be questionable for Sunday. ... WR Rashied Davis, the most experienced member of the wideout corps, will see more time on Sunday if Aromashodu can not play. Davis is also one of the Bears' best special-teams players.

Packers: CB/KR Will Blackmon remained out of practice Thursday but did some running and hasn't given up hope about playing in the season opener Sunday night. Blackmon has been sidelined since suffering a bruised thigh in the Aug. 22 preseason game. He would have to practice Friday to have a shot at playing this weekend. ... WR Jordy Nelson has been filling in for Blackmon on both punt and kickoff returns in practice this week and likely would assume those added duties if Blackmon is deactivated. Other options on returns are WR Brett Swain, CB Tramon Williams and RB DeShawn Wynn. ... QB Matt Flynn continued to be a full participant in practice and expects to be in uniform Sunday as the team's only backup to Rodgers. Flynn hasn't played on offense since suffering a sprained throwing shoulder in the Aug. 22 contest. Flynn serves as the holder on kicks. ... CB Charles Woodson, whose name has been bandied about as a replacement for Blackmon on punt returns though he hasn't handled that role in two years, volunteered his services to be the team's emergency No. 3 quarterback. Nothing has been revealed on what the Packers would do if they lost both Rodgers and Flynn in a game. ... RB Brandon Jackson hasn't returned to practice since suffering an ankle injury in the Aug. 28 preseason game. Jackson likely won't play Sunday, leaving Grant and Wynn as the only halfbacks. ... S Aaron Rouse continued to be a full participant in practice this week and should be under consideration to be activated Sunday as a special-teams contributor and for reserve duty on defense. Rouse hasn't played since sustaining a pulled hamstring in practice Aug. 20.

PREDICTION
Packers 24, Bears 20.


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