Bears vs. Packers: 5 things to watch (and a prediction) for Week 2 matchup

·4 min read

The Chicago Bears will look to become 2-0 as they kick off week two on the road against their historic rivals, the Green Bay Packers. To no surprise, Green Bay is heavily favored, and the Bears will look to play spoiler for the second straight week.

These teams have met many times, with Green Bay holding a six-game win streak. However, the new-look Bears have the culture and attitude to make this a challenging game for the Packers.

From Green Bay’s limited vertical passing attack to opportunities for Bears players on offense, here are five things to watch in the Bears’ week one matchup — and a final prediction!

Chicago looks to end a six-game losing streak

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The Bears could get a win on the road as Green Bay is struggling to find a rhythm on offense, relying on rookie wide receivers and a patchwork offensive line.

The Bears are on a six-game losing streak to Green Bay. The last win came at home in 2018 in a 24-17 win with Mitch Trubisky throwing the go-ahead touchdown to tight end Trey Burton with 4 minutes remaining.

Since then, it’s been nothing but heartache. In the last six games, the Packers have outscored the Bears 29-17 and extended their all-time series lead to 103-95-6 over Chicago. But this could be the game that changes things.

What better way to “take back the North” than by defeating the three-time division champion?

Bears passing offense in normal weather

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It’s been talked about plenty, but the passing offense was horrible in the game against the 49ers. The weather was terrible, and Justin Fields was inaccurate in the first half. But, we expected critical players in this offense to be featured and they were no-shows.

Instead, Darnell Mooney only had eight yards and was targeted fewer times than David Montgomery. Cole Kmet had zero yards and was only targeted once. If the Bears upset the Packers, their star players must be more involved.

David Montgomery bounce-back game

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Another often talked about topic is the poor performance David Montgomery had running the ball against the 49ers. There’s been talk that Khalil Herbert could overtake him as the RB1 by midseason.

While I don’t think Montgomery is a good fit for the wide zone scheme, the Shanahan-style offense relies on a 1-2 punch from its running backs. So, while Montgomery might not excel in the offense, he has to be better than 1.7 yards per carry.

With the offensive coordinator coming from Green Bay, there’s no reason Montgomery and Herbert cant become Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion in Chicago. That duo combined for 2,306 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns last year.

Bears pass rush vs. Green Bay OL

AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski

The combination of Robert Quinn, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Trevis Gipson, and Dominique Robinson must pressure Aaron Rodgers early and often.

The Vikings swarmed Rodgers in week one, taking advantage of Green Bay’s injuries at both tackle positions. Against Minnesota, Rodgers was sacked four times, knocked down once, and hurried six times.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari might return for this game; however, right tackle Elgton Jenkins is likely still out, and that’s where Minnesota was able to generate pressure, taking advantage of the inexperienced Royce Newman.

Green Bay WR vs Bears secondary

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The Green Bay passing offense was horrible last week, and they don’t have pouring rains to blame for their performance. While the national media replayed the drop from Christian Watson, Rodgers was 2-of-5 with an interception on attempts past 10 yards.

This team doesn’t appear able to threaten teams vertically. Look for the Bears to press and capitalize on this until Green Bay proves otherwise.

Aaron Rodgers was 22-for-34 for 195 yards and one interception. His passes only traveled an average of 2.4 yards in the air, indicative of the Packers’ struggles to move the ball downfield. While the Packers expect new WR1, Allen Lazard, to return, he’s a possession receiver with limited run after-the-catch potential. Green Bay is in trouble if these new receivers don’t get up to speed quickly.

Final Prediction: Bears 16, Packers 14

AP Photo/David Banks

While the Bears struggled against the run last week before Elijah Mitchell’s injury, the 49ers’ offensive line was much, as a result, better than Green Bay’s. Aaron Rodgers could be without his left and right tackle again, opening the door for the Bears to pressure the All-Pro quarterback.

At wide receiver, Rodgers is without a trusted partner. Right now, his favorite target is tight end Robert Tonyan, who I expect will lead the team in targets again this week unless Allen Lazard returns.

The Green Bay defense should be much better this week as they fix their coverage mistakes and won’t face a threat similar to Justin Jefferson from the Bears. But I think the Bears grind out a win, likely by managing the clock, kicking field goals, and stopping the Packers’ passing attack.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire