The Chicago Bears take the field on Monday night against a Green Bay Packers team that has won four straight games. They’ve posted a perfect 3-0 record at Lambeau Field this season.
The Bears (4-3) have won only one game in their last four outings, but they have hung tough in every game in 2013 showing how resilient of a group they really are.
Injuries have taken a toll on Marc Trestman’s group with the likes of Henry Melton and Nate Collins going down for the season. Captains Lance Briggs and Jay Cutler recently diagnosed with their respective injuries doesn’t help at all, but they both seem to be hoping to be back before their initially reported timetables.
The Packers have been rough on their arch rival for a long time. The Bears haven’t won at Lambeau Field since Week Five of the 2007 season when Brian Griese was under center and Cedric Benson was in the backfield in a 27-0 win.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been flat out ridiculous so far this season tossing 2,191 yards, 15 touchdowns, only four interceptions with a 108 passer rating.
Green Bay ranks second in total offense behind only the Denver Broncos as they averaged roughly 439 yards per game. They rank fifth in passing offense (297.4 yards per game) and third in rushing offense (141.4 yards per game).
It won’t be easy for this banged up Bears defense that is decimated up front and now at the linebacker position. Two rookies (Jon Bostic, Khaseem Green) will be starting next to veteran James Anderson, who will now be calling the defensive signals with Briggs out.
They rank 27th overall in yards allowed (391 yards per game), while allowing opponents to average 6.2 yards per play and convert on 44 percent of third downs.
The pass defense has been the problem with Charles Tillman (knee) banged up all year and the defensive line generating almost zero pass rush (four sacks).
If the Bears are going to win they will win it with their offense not their defense. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall have combined for 1,101 yards and seven touchdowns. They will be asked to keep drives alive with veteran journeyman Josh McCown running the show.
Matt Forte has been an integral part of the offense just like Trestman said during training camp. Forte has 533 yards and six rushing touchdowns and 262 receiving yards.
Unfortunately, this will be a tough matchup for Forte as the Packers defense ranks fourth in rushing yards allowed per game (83.6). Opposing runners have generated just 3.7 yards per rush.
The Bears have weapons on their side. Not just Marshall, Forte and Jeffery, but also tight end Martellus Bennett and Earl Bennett.
Coming off a Week Eight bye it was important for the Bears to gather their minds and rest up while they game planned for the Packers.
Things don’t look too promising heading into Monday night’s primetime matchup, but the success on offense this season can help the Bears hang around in this must-win NFC North battle.
“You charge up your battery a little bit. Maybe you put some nitrous tanks on,” Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall said to the media on Thursday. “Its still the same. We approach every game the same way. Every game is a must-win for us. This is an important one definitely going against Green Bay.”
One thing that may play in the Bears favor is the fact that the Packers are pretty beat up as well. Green Bay is without starting wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones, starting tight end Jermichael Finley and starting linebacker Clay Matthews.
The Packers last three wins came against the Vikings, Browns and Ravens. They started the season 1-2 after losing to San Francisco and Cincinnati on the road.
The Bears can’t be intimidated by Rodgers and Co. Despite the fact that the Bears’ offensive and defensive captains will be in street clothes, the offense is the most powerful its been in years.
They will be able to hang around with the Packers I promise you that. As long as McCown gets the proper protection upfront and sustains drives it will make things easier for the Bears defense.
The Packers are the favorite and rightfully so, but don’t write the Bears off just yet. Injuries and adversity are a lot to overcome, but I think the Bears have just as much offensive firepower as Green Bay.