MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE
On the other side of the ball, Forte isn't playing like a rookie. He's earned attention from the Packers' defense because of his physical style and vision. Forte is one of the top receiving backs in the NFL, and Hawk's struggles in pass defense earned him a seat on the bench at times earlier this season.
TEs Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen vs. FS Nick Collins and SS Atari Bigby: It's safe to say that Green Bay's cornerbacks are better than Chicago's wide receivers, so it will most likely be up to Clark and Olsen to do some damage through the air. Since Rashied Davis and Marty Booker can't be expected to beat Charles Woodson and Al Harris consistently, Clark and Olsen have to work the middle of the field and get some separation from Collins and Bigby. The Packers have made a ton of big plays in the secondary and seem to register a pick-six every week, although neither of their hard-hitting safeties is a particularly great cover guy.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: PACKERS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
Bears coach Lovie Smith, a defense-first guy to begin with, no doubt will try to attack Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in much the same way. If the Packers' blockers are up to the task, there will be big plays available routinely against Chicago's suspect secondary. If not, it will be another long, painful day for Rodgers and the Packers' offense.
Green Bay Big 5 vs. Chicago Secondary: As if the Bears weren't having enough trouble defending the pass this season, now they have to face the Packers and arguably the deepest crop of receivers in the league. Both Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are on pace for 70-plus receptions, James Jones and Ruvell Martin can present major matchup problems because of their size, and rookie Jordy Nelson has already delivered a few big plays this season. Green Bay hasn't deployed its Big 5 formation too often yet because Jones has missed some time with injury, but this is the week to empty the backfield and play some backyard football – especially since the Bears don't feature a dime package in their defensive scheme.
Of the 10 starting quarterbacks Chicago has faced so far this season, five of them have put up their season best in terms of passing yards.
THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
THE PACKERS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE PACKERS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
Bill Huber: This one is easy, so says the guy who is 4-5 in his pre-game predictions: More times than not, when a team facing a must-win game takes on a team that isn't in such dire straits, the team that needs the win gets the win. With their backs against the wall, the offensive line responds with a strong performance and Rodgers makes enough key completions. With a late turnover making the final seem more lopsided ... PACKERS 31, BEARS 20.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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