Behind Enemy Lines: Inside the Bears

How big is the drop-off at quarterback? Can the addition of Martellus Bennett help free up Brandon Marshall? Can the addition of Jermon Bushrod and the loss of Clay Matthews be the great equalizer? Bear Report beat writer Jeremy Stoltz has those answers.

Packer Report goes Behind Enemy Lines with Jeremy Stoltz of Bear Report.

Bill: The Packers have spoken highly of Josh McCown. Maybe that's just them playing nice. How big is the drop-off between Jay Cutler and McCown?

Jeremy: The drop-off in talent is immense. McCown doesn't the same ability to fit balls into tight windows and isn't as accurate or strong-armed on deep balls. He's a journeyman quarterback who played in the UFL a few years ago. That said, McCown is more accurate than Cutler, which is a huge plus in Marc Trestman's West Coast system, which relies heavily on short passes. And despite his age, McCown showed last week he can still run. The Packers give up roughly 250 yards per game passing. I expect roughly the same from McCown, and possibly more, as he could be playing catch-up all night.

Bill: Green Bay has dominated this series, I think, because of two things. One is they've taken away Brandon Marshall. Are the Bears in better position this year to succeed if the Packers take away Marshall?

Jeremy: With the emergence of Alshon Jeffery and the addition of Martellus Bennett, the Bears are in a much better spot to take advantage of bracket coverage on Marshall. This will be a huge game for Jeffery, as he may have to carry the load on Monday night. But an even bigger factor could be Matt Forte, who will likely see a lot of dump-off passes against Green Bay's relentless pass rush. If Forte has success after the catch, he'll command more attention from the linebackers, which could open up space for Bennett to make plays between the seams.

Bill: The second reason is because the Packers, with Clay Matthews, have dominated Chicago's left tackles. It's a different perspective this year. Green Bay won't have Matthews and the Bears signed Jermon Bushrod away from the Saints. How has Bushrod and that line performed?

Jeremy: The line as a whole has performed much better. With four new starters up front, the Bears have given up just 11 sacks this year, which is the second-fewest in the league. That, when compared to the nonsense units the team has trotted out the past five years, is incredible. And without Matthews, McCown could have more time than usual to find his targets down the field. That extra second or two is often all Marshall needs.

Bill: Statistically, Chicago's defense isn't any good but it forces turnovers — just like the Lovie Smith days. Give us your take on the state of Chicago's defense.

Jeremy: The team has placed four starters on IR (Kelvin Hayden, Henry Melton, Nate Collins and D.J. Williams) and just lost Lance Briggs for up to six weeks. On top of that, Charles Tillman hasn't finished a game in more than a month due to a lingering knee injury, Julius Peppers' best days are behind him and the safeties have been atrocious. The Redskins' offense rolled up 499 yards two weeks ago. It would not be surprising if Rodgers and Co. neared the 600-yard mark.

Bill: There's plenty at stake on Monday night. Give us your roadmap for a Chicago upset victory, which would really shake up the North.

Jeremy: There is little hope for the Bears defense, so this one has "shootout" written all over it. The Packers are great against the run, so this game falls on the shoulders of McCown and Chicago's passing attack. If McCown can have the game of his career (300-plus yards and three-plus touchdowns) then the Bears have a shot. But even then, it may not be enough. Chicago's defense is going to give up plenty of yards and points, so a few well-timed turnovers, returned for a touchdown or two, will be absolutely necessary. If all that happens, the Bears can pull off a miraculous road victory.

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