3 key matchups to watch as the Bears battle the Packers in Week 13

Last time Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers played a game at Soldier Field, he screamed “I [expletive] own you” to Bears fans after rushing for a touchdown. 

Much to the chagrin of Bears fans, he had a point. The Bears are 2-17 in their last 19 games against the Packers, including a 27-10 loss in Week 2 this season.

Can the Bears turn the tide on a Packers team that is unlike the powerhouse we’ve grown accustomed to? Here are the three key factors to watch.

Bears run game vs. Packers run defense

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These are two units that are polar opposites in terms of success and dominance. The Bears have the league’s top ground attack in terms of yards per game (192), and are 10th in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. 

The Packers defense has been abysmal against the run. They are 31st in yards per game, and rank dead last in the NFL in rushing DVOA. This is exactly the kind of game the Bears will want to play with Justin Fields returning. If Chicago can produce even half of what the Eagles did last Sunday night when they accumulated over 300 yards on the ground, their chances of winning will skyrocket.

Bears pass defense vs. Packers passing game

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The Bears defense is bad. There’s not getting around that or any need to tiptoeing around it- it’s not a good unit right now. This is as expected, though. They traded away their two best players on that side of the ball, and Eddie Jackson is done for the year while Jaquan Brisker remains out with a concussion. That said, they were still carved up by Jets third-string quarterback Mike White. 

The Bears defense has been coming up for air all season, though. They are 31st in DVOA when it comes to total defense, as well as pass DVOA. The Packers have found success in the passing game over the last month, specifically when targeting Christian Watson. While the record may not be what Green Bay was hoping for, you can never count out Aaron Rodgers, especially if you’re the Bears.

Bears run defense vs. Packers RBs Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon

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Green Bay has been leaning on Aaron Jones much more over the last month. You can put AJ Dillon in there, as well, but Jones has been the feature back. We touched on the Packers horrid run defense, but the Bears haven’t looked much better. They are 22nd in second-level yards, and 24th in open-field yards in the run game.

The Bears cannot allow Green Bay to find early success in the run game. If the Packers keep getting consistent five and six yard carries, that will set up play action and get them into a groove, which will be hard to break.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire