MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE
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
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 ñ 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 ...
THE PACKERS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
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.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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