Breaking Down Week 10 vs. the Bears

Packers vs BearsSince the Packers and Bears last met in Week 4, the two teams have trended in dramatically different directions – the Bears dropped three of their next four while the Packers experienced defeat just once. The Bears stole a win from the Packers in last year’s meeting at Lambeau Field when both teams were missing their starting quarterbacks for three-plus quarters. Chicago’s 2013 victory over Green Bay was their first since Week 3 of 2010, when Jay Cutler recorded his only career win over the Packers to-date.

Nursing a hamstring injury over the bye week, Aaron Rodgers is expected to be healthy for Sunday’s game. Other than a down night against New Orleans in Week 8, Rodgers has been red hot since his last meeting with Chicago. Part of the success can be attributed to stellar protection from his offensive line, which could be missing both starting guards on Sunday. The Packers’ explosive passing game has historically caused problems for the Bears and figures to do the same on Sunday as Rodgers faces the league’s 23rd-ranked pass defense.

With the return of three starters on the Green Bay defense, Cutler may have a difficult time matching Rodgers’ productivity in the air. This season in particular, the 9th-ranked Packers pass defense has done an outstanding job of applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks and forcing errant throws. Cutler’s tendency to make poor throws under the most minimal pressure is no secret to defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who I expect to blitz regularly throughout the game.

One area where the Bears might have some success on offense is the running game. Stopping the run has been a huge problem for the Packers this season, largely due to the absence of B.J. Raji. Two weeks ago, Green Bay allowed pedestrian back Mark Ingram to run wild, which is precisely what Bears running back Mark Forte is poised to do if adjustments are not made. Look for more playing time out of linebacker Jamari Lattimore, who has been the team’s sole bright at inside linebacker this season.

Playing at home and in prime time, the Packers are naturally favored to complete their 2014 sweep of the Bears on Sunday. But, as any Packers or Bears fan would tell you, anything can happen in contests between these two teams. Nine of the past 13 games in this rivalry have been decided by seven points or less. With the Bears desperately needing to get on-track, expect some surprises from Marc Trestman and the Bears on Sunday Night Football.

Breaking Down Week 10 vs. the Bears

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