Five Players To Watch: Week 10 (Allen, Bennett, Bostic, Fuller, Jeffery)

Five Players To Watch: Week 10 (Allen, Bennett, Bostic, Fuller, Jeffery)
Here are five Bears to watch in Sunday's meeting with Green Bay. Who will stand out the most in this prime time divisional matchup?

The Bears head to Lambeau Field on Sunday night desperate for a victory as they sit in last place in the NFC North.

At 3-5, the Bears have been focused on this second meeting with Aaron Rodgers and the rival Packers for over two weeks now. The bye was much needed, but it remains to be seen if the Bears will drastically change any of their philosophies on either side of the ball.

The injury report for the Bears is rather small for arguably the first time all season. Linebackers Lance Briggs, Jon Bostic are expected to return after missing the last three games with injuries. Kyle Fuller, Jordan Mills and Danny McCray are also set to play in full capacity.

Tight end Martellus Bennett is the only Bear listed as questionable after sitting out Friday’s practice with a rib injury.

Two starting Packers offensive linemen, Josh Sitton (toe) and T.J. Lang (ankle) are questionable after being out of practice until Friday when they got in a limited session.

This game has a huge meaning for both divisional teams, but the Bears need this one to even have a chance of sniffing the postseason. With eight games remaining on tap, five come at home where the Bears are winless.

It’s hard not to look ahead to the other seven matchups, but the Bears have to focus on keeping Rodgers off the field and scoring touchdowns early and often to give their defense a fair split.

Here is the breakdown of the key matchup between the Packers’ run defense and the Bears’ run offense starring Matt Forte

These are five players to watch when the Bears take on the Packers in frigid Green Bay.

Defensive end Jared Allen

Allen has had a dominant career against the Packers, posting 16 sacks in 12 regular season meetings. That includes a 4.5 sack performance in a win early in the 2009 season, where he also recorded a safety. Fast forward to 2014, Allen is 32 and seems to be slowing down a bit in terms of production. He has been solid against the run this season, but that isn’t really what the Bears are paying him $10 million a season to do. He has 1.5 sacks over the past three weeks, so maybe he is starting to come along. Allen needs to step up in this game. He wasn’t active in the first meeting with Green Bay in Week 4 either was Jeremiah Ratliff, so maybe that could play to the Bears advantage.

Tight end Martellus Bennett

Expect the “Black Unicorn” to suit up for this huge game on Sunday night. Despite being listed as questionable after being limited on Thursday and out of Friday’s practice, Bennett told reporters that he will “probably” play in Green Bay. Even if he isn’t at 100 percent, the Bears need Bennett badly to be able to put up enough points to have a prayer of outscoring Rodgers and the Packers. Bennett had a career-high nine grabs for 134 yards in the first meeting this season. He caught six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago in the blowout loss to the Patriots. Bennett is crucial in the middle of the field where the Bears must attack.

Linebacker Jon Bostic

Yes, Bostic has been out the last three games with a back injury and may show some rust on Sunday night, but his return is important considering Darryl Sharpton is out with a hamstring injury. D.J. Williams can’t handle nickel duties in the middle, where Bostic has shown signs of improvement. Outside of a Week 3 performance where Bostic had 13 tackles he’s been rather quiet in five starts. In his second season he hasn’t been the best linebacker, but the personnel has been changing week-to-week, so to have him back in the fold is a good thing. He should be fresh next to Lance Briggs who should be amped up in likely his last game against the Packers ever.

Cornerback Kyle Fuller

It seems like the Bears have found themselves a great replacement for Charles Tillman in rookie Kyle Fuller. The first-round rookie out of Virginia Tech has three interceptions and three forced fumbles this season. He also has six pass breakups. He’s been banged up the last two games, combining for seven tackles battling through a broken hand and a hip pointer. He seems to be over his hip issue after practicing in full all this week and he will be tasked with keeping the Packers top receiver Jordy Nelson in check. That is definitely not an easy matchup for any NFL cornerback. The Packers picked on Fuller in the first meeting, so maybe he can improve after watching what went wrong the first time around.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery

Jeffery needs to get the ball more. Simple and plain. He’s had five or more receptions in five games this season including two 100 plus yard games, but he can certainly be more effective with better play-calling. Jeffery has led the Bears receiving corps in yards per catch the past two seasons, 2012 (15.3) and 2013 (16.0). This year he’s averaging 14.8 and has a season-long grab of 74 yards. In the first meeting with the Packers, Jeffery had four receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. He is a mismatch in the backfield on a wide receiver reverse or simply on a fake. The Bears need to be more creative in the ways they get Jeffery the ball. That will open things up for the other top options in Brandon Marshall, Forte and Bennett. Look for Jeffery to be very active on Sunday night.

Thoughts on the five players to watch? Make sure to leave a comment below.

 

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