A week after returning back to earth, much like a certain rogue satellite, (smoldering, burning/falling apart) in New Orleans, the Bears welcome their nemesis, the Green Bay Packers, to Soldier Field. How will our protagonists respond after taking one on the chin (or throat and neck if you're Jay Cutler) and getting a few of their teeth knocked loose against the Mighty Breesasaurus Rex in the Big Easy? Read on, dear reader, and walk with me and my rambling conjectures and speculations.
When The Bears Have The Ball
The Bears after putting on a nice display of "bringing it" against Atlanta in Week 1, must have been returning to the drawing board after Week 2's dismal effort against New Orleans. So what went wrong? Well after an efficient and balanced 86-yard drive that saw Cutler hooking up with rookie wideout, Dane Sanzenbacher, to open the scoring, the afternoon went downhill in hurry. Granted, there were a few suspect Saints penalties to aid that drive for the Ursa Chicagoans but it was a sustained and balanced drive, dadgummit! The playcalling was balanced --five rushes to six passes, sorry, I'm going off the box score, I missed the game. And following that drive, the Bears went Martzian, which is to say "pass wacky," with the offense, during one stretch that bridged the second and third quarters, saw Cutler passing on 25 of 27 plays, all with the game well within reach. In that stretch the Bears netted a total of six points off two Robbie Gould field goals. Now, mind you, I don't have that big of a problem with the imbalance, the Bears very effectively distributed the ball to their best playmaker (Matt Forte), but the Saints defense on subsequent replays and highlights seemed to very easily adapt and learn to expect the pass and simply blitzed the hell out of Cutler as if the dude was London and they were the Luftwaffe and it was November 1940 all over again.
To avoid a similar scene against Green Bay's defense --which, in spite of early returns, is a vastly more imposing squad than either the Atlanta or New Orleans outfits-- the Bears will have to keep distributing the ball to Matt Forte on the ground and take their shots as they come across them with Johnny Knox, et al downfield against a Packers secondary that, while not "vulnerable," is arguably the weakest link in their defense. Meanwhile, Green Bay's steady front 7 will be continually testing and prodding Chicago's shaky offensive line even more with Gabe Carimi out for the immediate (and forseeable) future.
When The Packers Have The Ball
Green Bay's offense is a hydra. Plain and simple. And no, not in that literal sense of one slewing one of the hydra's heads and having two more appear, but metaphorically, ya dummy! Green Bay has a stable of big, fast-enough wideouts that can make a run at the endzone from anywhere on the field. Throw in the fact that Aaron Rodgers is a pretty "OK" quarterback and the fact that opposing defenses have to continually plan and plot and re-plan and re-plot for what half-man/half-bulldozer, Jermichael Finley brings to the table and baby, you've got yourself an offensive stew! Now, mind you, New Orleans offense and Green Bay's offense are different beasts. The Saints love to play "basketball on turf," while GB is just as comfy with nickel and diming a defense to death as they are with the big play after big play approach.
Green Bay's defense has looked slightly shakier than one would expect, but Drew Brees (as Bears fans full well know) and Cam Newton (snuh?) are, apparently, no slouches. If the Bears expect to be competitive in this game for the full 60 minutes, the Bears defense will have to be ready to handle a ton of looks from Aaron Rodgers & Co.; while at the same time, Chicago's offensive line is going to have to protect **#OBVZ ALERT** Cutler far more effectively than they did last week wherein Cutler's skull was sacked back into the Age Of Enlightenment. [Voltaire, FTW!]
The Bears [Won Or Lost] What Else Is On?
The early CBS game for Chicagoland is a fun one, with the point-a-minute Houston Andre Johnsons visiting the New Orleans Saints in what we all hope is a shootout in the Crescent City. *Gambling Note: This game is off the books as of press time over on Bodog.com. The early game on FOX (note, FOX has the doubleheader this week) is Detroit visiting Minnesota. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the second collapse of the Metrodome ceiling in as many seasons. Naturally, this time it collapsed because of the gravitational pull of Detroit's defensive line and not a burdening amount of snowpack, but still... The Sunday night game is the Peyton Manning-less Colts playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. The over/under for amount of Colts quarterbacks used in this game is also off the books.
The Bears game kicks off at 3:15 and the forecast is for a high in the low 60s with a 40% chance of rain. Pack a slicker and put down that liquor, tailgaters. Enjoy the games and thanks for reading.