The Bears and Packers kicked off the 2012 season on very different notes, Chicago showcasing some offensive firepower with Green Bay failing to establish any sort of rhythm on either side of the ball. Most would argue that there is no such thing as a “must-win” game in Week 2 of the regular season. However, the Packers would put themselves in a very undesirable hole with a loss against the Bears in the league’s Thursday night opener.
With adequate protection up front, the Bears offense seems more explosive than ever, chalking up 41 points on the Colts last week. The dual-back set of Matt Forte and Michael Bush could present problems if the Packers run defense can’t learn from their mistakes last week against Frank Gore and the 49ers. The defense needs inside linebacker D.J. Smith to step up.
The bigger problem could be split out wide in the form of two large-bodied wide receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Marshall reunited nicely with QB Jay Cutler last week while the rookie Jeffery also managed to torch the Indianapolis secondary. Given the sheer physical ability of both receivers, it’s in the Packers’ best interest to play Sam Shields over Jarrett Bush at cornerback this week.
The Bears defense looked solid but not spectacular against Andrew Luck and the Colts. While not loaded with big names, the Chicago secondary is capable of running with most anyone. The Bears will catch a huge break if Packers receiver Greg Jennings is unable to suit up for the Week 2 clash. Tight end Jermichael Finley had a big performance last year against Chicago and could play an important role in this game.
If there is one threat to the Packers’ turnaround on offense it’s the Chicago defensive line. Julius Peppers and Henry Melton were in Luck’s face all day last week and could do the same to Aaron Rodgers if the Green Bay O-line has an off-night. Rookie Shea McClellin poses impressive speed and strength and is another body that the Packers must have on their radar.