Five Players To Watch: Week Nine (Forte, Peppers, Wright, M. Bennett, Greene)

Five Players To Watch: Week Nine (Forte, Peppers, Wright, M. Bennett, Greene)

If the Chicago Bears can upset the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field it will create a three way tie a top of the NFC North.

The Bears have plenty of talent still left on their roster despite the number of devastating injuries they’ve witnessed these past few weeks.

No team is healthy at this point in the NFL season, but without their offensive captain and quarterback Jay Cutler and defensive captain Lance Briggs the Bears face a tough task.

The main concern might appear to be the loss of Cutler. Without him under center, the Bears are just 2-10 since 2010. His replacements have a combined 47.8 passer rating with 22 interceptions and just eight touchdowns.

McCown can run the offensive effectively however just like he did in Week 7, when he threw for 204 yards with a 119.6 passer rating.

The bigger concern has to be the loss of Lance Briggs. He was basically the Brian Urlacher of the defense this season as he was calling the plays and dropping back in coverage more often that not. His loss is devastating to say the least.

The run defense hasn’t been the same since Henry Melton suffered a torn ACL back in Week Three. The Bears’ defense ranks 24th against the run (117.3 yards per game) as they’ve compiled only nine sacks ranking last in the league.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has owned the Bears thus far in his eight-year career. Rodgers in 9-2 all-time against the Bears as the Packers have won six straight against them. In those 11 games, Rodgers has tossed 19 touchdown passes and six interceptions.

The Bears have to generate some sort of pass rush against him. If he is able to take three-step drops in the pocket it could be a long night for Charles Tillman and Co.

This is a must watch game for any NFL fan, especially the fans of the Bears-Packers rivalry that has gotten better with each matchup

Here are five Bears players to watch closely on Monday night in Green Bay.

Major Wright

The fourth-year University of Florida product has struggled in pass coverage over the past three games. He has two interceptions and two forced fumbles, which he made earlier in the season. Chris Conte hasn’t helped him take any pressure off of the secondary. Wright has been a solid run stopper all season, but again he isn’t playing his best in pass coverage. Wright and Conte need to communicate more in the secondary because way too often they are taking a terrible angle and allowing a big play. This is a huge game for the secondary, especially Wright, who is a gifted player.

Julius Peppers

The 33-year old veteran hasn’t been the same impact player that he was the last three years with the Bears. He has generated only 15 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this season. He had a season-high seven tackles against the Redskins after not recording a single tackle the two weeks prior to that. Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton are gifted players who can’t do it all, Peppers needs to be there making plays in the backfield. If he can’t get it done it will be tough for the Bears defense to get off the field against a Packers offense that clocked over 40 minutes of time of possession last Sunday night against Minnesota.

Martellus Bennett

The 26-year old Texas A&M product is in for a big night on Monday night. Despite only catching one pass for seven yards and one touchdown last week, he had nearly two weeks to rest up his bruised knee. Also, it appears as if McCown likes to throw his way as he looked right to him in the endzone when it counted most in Washington. All healed up and ready to go, the Black Unicorn should be able to exploit a Packers defense that is very mediocre in the middle of the field.

Matt Forte

The 27-year old Tulane product has been very effective for the Bears out of the backfield. He’s rushed for 533 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while hauling 35 passes for 262 yards. This is a big test for Forte against a very stout Packers run defense. He is a fresh off a 16 carry, 91 yard, three touchdown performance, where he averaged 5.7 yards per carry against the Redskins. A healthy dose of Forte will take the pressure of McCown in his first start since the 2011 season. He is very important to the Bears success on offense.

Khaseem Greene

This kid has every chance in the world to be a star in this league. Drafted out of Rutgers in the fourth-round, I don’t think the Bears wanted him to play this early in his career. But this could do wonders for the development of  him and Jon Bostic, who has started the past two weeks. With James Anderson calling the plays from strongside linebacker it will make things easier for these high-flying rookies. Greene doesn’t have as big of a responsibility as Bostic, but he still has to play it safe. It will be interesting to see if he can matchup with the Packers backs and Rodgers’ scrambling ability.


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