Is Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings a vegetarian? I'm asking that because there's a good chance that he won't play against the Chicago Bears on September 13, 2012. For Jennings, that would mean that he has missed the last two "Bear hunting trips." Guilty conscience, perhaps?
Jennings hasn't practiced since he injured his groin against the San Francisco 49ers. He'd normally have one week to get healthy. However, the Packers are playing a Thursday night game. This means that he has one-half of a week to recover. The short week has made it difficult for him.
How would Jennings' absence affect the Packers' offense? Jennings wasn't available when these teams last met in 2011. That didn't stop Aaron Rodgers from having one of the best performances of his career. Despite having just more than 24 minutes of offensive possession, Rodgers threw for 283 yards and five touchdowns during a 35-21 victory on Christmas night. Jennings' replacement, James Jones, had four receptions for 50 yards with two touchdowns.
The Packers have a deep receiving core that includes experienced receivers such as Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver and Jones. Jermichael Finley had three touchdown receptions when these teams met on September 25, 2011. When it comes to distributing the football to numerous receivers, Rodgers is one of the best. Cedric Benson had 189 rushing yards when he last faced his former team. That was in 2009.
The Bears have their own health issues on defense. After he missed all of preseason, Brian Urlacher has claimed that he's still "Not up to speed" with his techniques. The Bears' best cornerback, Charles Tillman, is also questionable. Tillman has a shin injury.
The Packers' offense won't shutdown because of one injured wide receiver; they have too much depth. What's more important is that the offensive line protects Rodgers. The Bears have an opportunistic defense that relies on pressuring the quarterback. Marshall Newhouse needs to have a strong game.
The Packers also need a strong performance from their defense. They were atrocious in the Christmas night game. Led by Kahlil Bell, the Bears rushed for 199 yards. Josh McCown had 242 passing yards. If the Packers' defense plays that poorly in this game, who knows what kind of numbers that Matt Forte, Jay Cutler and his new crop of receivers will put up.
The Packers have something to prove. According to NFL.com, only 56-percent of voters are picking them to win this game. Nobody is scared of them anymore. The Packers have lost three of their past five games. They've lost their last two games at Lambeau Field.
It's time to remind people why this is a Super Bowl contender, not a pretender.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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