Behind Enemy Lines: 5 questions with Packers Wire

Alyssa Barbieri
·4 min read

The Chicago Bears are looking to snap a four-game losing streak when they face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. But considering the Bears’ recent success — or lack thereof — against the Packers, there’s not much confidence they can do that.

With a change likely coming at quarterback with Mitchell Trubisky replacing an injured Nick Foles, it’ll be interesting to see if this offense can find a spark with a new signal caller. With this dominant Chicago defense, this game could be another close one.

Before the game, we caught up with managing editor Zach Kruse of Packers Wire to get the scoop on the Bears’ Week 12 opponent.

Here are five questions with Packers Wire:

The Packers are 3-3 since the bye week, where they’ve beaten the likes of the Texans, Jaguars and 49ers. What’s been the difference between before and after the bye week for the Packers?

USA Today

Great question. I'd say a combination of factors. The Packers didn't turn the ball over once during the first four games, but they have nine in the last six, including seven in the three losses. They haven't run the ball as consistently. They've really struggled at times on special teams. The defense had big issues in all three losses. Also, they were relatively healthy during those first four games, but they've consistently dealt with missing starters since the bye.

We’ve seen that some of the great quarterbacks can age like a fine wine, which certainly appears to be the case with Aaron Rodgers. Is Rodgers as good as he’s ever been this season?

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, Rodgers has been great. He's always been super talented, and now he's comfortable again in a scheme that's helping him in big ways. Matt LaFleur's offense has him playing on time and giving him opportunities to be aggressive downfield. Over the first 10 games, Rodgers has nine games with multiple touchdown passes and a passer rating over 100.0. In terms of efficiency, this season has been one of Rodgers' best, and it's in the same stratosphere statistically as his MVP seasons in 2011 and 2014. I'm very intrigued to see if the Rodgers and the Packers passing game can keep playing at a high level against a Bears defense that kept him under a 100.0 passer rating in each game last season.

The Packers were an absolute force on defense last season, but they’ve seemed to regress a bit this season. What’s your evaluation of the defense?

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The defense is individually talented, but it's also collectively frustrating and an underperforming group overall in 2020. The pass-rush hasn't been nearly as good, and although the Packers are giving up fewer big plays and have improved slightly against the run, the defense's regression rushing the passer and producing turnovers has been significant. This group has allowed fewer than 20 points only twice in 10 games this season. These final six games are vital. Mike Pettine's group needs to show drastic improvement going into the postseason.

Which match-up intrigues you most in this contest?

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Two things really intrigue me going into this game. They are general, but important. First, I want to see the Packers offense vs. Bears defense. The Packers played well against a great defense last week in Indianapolis, and this week provides another opportunity for the passing game to show it can operate at an elite level against one of the NFL's best defenses. And I think the Bears will have some things ready to throw at Rodgers coming out of the bye. Second, keep an eye on how the Packers look early. They've played flat and uninspired each of the last two home games. They need to create their own energy inside a fan-less Lambeau Field. Matt LaFleur's team better be able to get up for a primetime game against a rival.

What’s your prediction for the game?

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Bears defense should ensure this is a close game. I think that defensive front is going to give the Packers some big issues. Still, I'm not convinced the Bears have enough on offense, regardless of who plays quarterback, to get it done on the road. I'm expecting another close game. The last five games between these two teams have been decided by one score. I'll take the Packers, 23-16.

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Tampa Bay
+155+4O 51.5
Green Bay
-182-4U 51.5