3 reasons for optimism as Bears face the Packers in Week 2

·3 min read

The Chicago Bears will travel to Lambeau Field for a prime-time rivalry game Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. Despite starting 1-0, there’s not much confidence the Bears will beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at home.

We looked at this week’s causes for concern, but there are reasons to be hopeful heading into Sunday. The Packers are 0-1 after a road loss to the Vikings, and there appear to be serious concerns about their offense.

As the Bears prepare for the Packers, here are three reasons to be encouraged for Sunday night’s game.

Green Bay's passing offense is inexperienced and struggling

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The Bears defense can look to take advantage of an offense still trying to find its footing with rookie receivers. The Packers rotated four receivers heavily throughout Saturday’s game, and their leading receiver was running back AJ Dillon (5 catches for 46 yards).

Green Bay was without new WR1 Allen Lazard, but it’s uncertain whether his return to the field Sunday will improve the passing offense. The Packers offense relies heavily on rookie wide receivers, with Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson playing 60% of the snaps against the Vikings.

The second most targeted receiver after Dillon was tight end Robert Tonyan. Rodgers will have a tough go against the Bears’ secondary if he’s unable to get the ball consistently to his wide receivers.

Injuries on the Packers offensive line

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The Bears’ pass rush should be able to make life difficult for Rodgers as Green Bay opens week two with a patchwork offensive line. Whether left tackle David Bakhtiari will play on Sunday remains a question. He’s only practicing every other day as he recovers from a knee injury. If he doesn’t play, Yosh Nijman will start again. Last week against the Vikings, Nijman only allowed one pressure, but he only has nine starts under his belt.

The other tackle, Elgton Jenkins, was limited in practice after suffering a knee injury in week one. If he can’t play, Royce Newman will start in his place. Last week, Newman struggled against Minnesota and helped contribute to Rodgers being sacked four times.

Green Bay will also be without guard John Runyan, who will not play on Sunday as he hasn’t advanced past the concussion protocol. Rookie guard Zach Tom will start in his place.

The combination of Robert Quinn, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Trevis Gipson, and rising star rookie Dominique Robinson should be able to get to Rodgers early and often.

Last week's weather makes it challenging to evaluate the Bears fairly

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The monsoon-like conditions and standing water on the field in week one limited the Bears’ offense. The offense only attempted 17 passes, so we’re unsure what Justin Fields looks like in the new offense. Fans can say the same for Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. The new WR1 only had one catch for eight yards in week one. While Kmet, who many hoped would have a breakout year, had zero yards on one target.

While rain is in the forecast, if the Bears offense has typical conditions for Sunday’s game, hopefully, we can begin to see what this team will look like in 2022.

Star running back David Montgomery also got off to a slow start, triggering early reactions that Khalil Herbert should be the starting running back. With a clean surface, hopefully, he’ll prove the critics wrong.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire