5 predictions for Week 2 Packers vs. Bears matchup

·3 min read

After a tough, 23-7 Week 1 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers have a chance to bounce back at home and even their season record vs. the Chicago Bears on “Sunday Night Football.”

Here are five predictions for the Packers in their 205th meeting with the Bears:

Running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon both eclipse 100 all-purpose yards

As was expected, the star running backs were two of the Packers’ leading receivers last week. Dillon totaled 91 yards, including five catches for 46, while Jones racked up 76 yards, including three catches for 27.

After getting only eight touches last week, Jones will likely be much more involved this week. 15-20 touches for both players isn’t out of the question.

Assuming Dillon ends up around his 15-touch total from last week, and Jones’ workload is a lot higher, both players could feasibly cross the century mark in all-purpose yards this week.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers scores three touchdowns

After failing to score a single touchdown in Week 1, Rodgers will be highly motivated this week. Historically speaking, the four-time MVP has been a Bear-killer, boasting a 13-2 record and 40:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in games against the NFC North rival since 2014, per CBS Sports.

Without a true No. 1 receiver this year or proven receiver depth, he probably won’t dominate this game to the degree he has in the past. Still, he likely won’t be under as much pressure as last week, going against lower-caliber edge rushers than Minnesota’s. Rookie receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs should also have a higher comfort level in the offense, and in the NFL, having now played in a regular season game.

With better-adjusted receivers, better protection, homefield advantage and the motivation of last week’s lopsided loss, we should see a more characteristic Rodgers performance Sunday night at Lambeau.

Wide receiver Christian Watson scores a 50-plus-yard touchdown

We saw the threat of Watson’s speed on the first play from scrimmage last week, as he torched Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson for what would have been a 75-yard score had the ball been caught.

As the biggest deep threat and most physically-gifted pass catcher on the team, Matt LaFleur is inevitably going to find ways to get Watson the ball, especially downfield. One of these times, the shot play to Watson is going to work. My guess is we see it this week.

Outside linebacker Rashan Gary records at least seven pressures and two sacks

With quarterback Justin Fields’ tendency to hold the ball in the pocket, and inexperienced offensive tackles starting for the Bears, we could see an absolutely monstrous game from Gary this week.

Fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones made his first start last week against Nick Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers, and predictably struggled, allowing two sacks in 24 pass-blocking snaps. Second-year right tackle Larry Borom held up well in the season opener, but didn’t face Bosa as often as Jones, and hasn’t started a season’s worth of games. A lack of experience against an edge rusher the caliber of Gary could mean a long game for Chicago.

Packers defense generates two takeaways

Fields should be under pressure pretty consistently Sunday night, if the Packers’ front lives up to expectations. Kenny Clark is a force at defensive tackle, and should give the Bears’ interior offensive linemen all they can handle. Gary will be a tough matchup for the Bears’ offensive tackles, and Preston Smith could be as well.

The Packers have a clear advantage in the receiver vs. cornerback matchups, with Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas covering Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis. Throwing windows could hard be hard to find for Fields throughout the game, and pressure should be fairly consistent.

It’s not hard to picture a rushed throw being picked off, or a sack-fumble leading to a Packers’ takeaway this week.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire