The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will meet for the 193rd time on Thursday night. The Bears lead the all-time series 94-92-6, but Green Bay is quickly closing in on the all-time series record.
The Packers have dominated winning 12 of the last 15 meetings dating back to 2009.
Injuries are an issue for both sides as a struggling Aaron Rodgers plays host to a Bears team that he seems to dominate year in and year out. As for the Bears, they’ve been able to keep drives going and generate yards, but points haven’t come much lately with Brian Hoyer under center.
Here’s what both teams will have on their minds heading into this Week 7 game. Keep in mind, a combined 22 players are listed on the injury report including 13 from the Bears.
What the Packers are thinking
For Green Bay, the running back and cornerback spot is very unproven at this point. Both James Starks and Eddie Lacy are out for this one in the backfield leaving recently acquired Knile Davis, practice squad player Don Jackson and two versatile pieces in receivers Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery to work with.
Expect all four to see time in the backfield as the Packers try to mix things up. It won’t be easy for Davis to learn the playbook that quickly after coming into the thick of things on Monday. Jackson could see plenty of carries since he’s been with the team for most of the season learning behind the scenes.
At cornerback, Sam Shields was placed on injured reserve and starters Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall have both been ruled out. Second-year Miami product LaDarius Gunter and third-year man Demetri Goodson will man those two starting spots.
Between the two players, they have a combined four starts in 34 games, 35 tackles and no interceptions. Gunter has all four of those starts and is a guy Green Bay really likes after making the team as an undrafted rookie a year ago. He has a pass breakup and a forced fumble this season.
If either Gunter or Goodson goes down, the Packers would be in ever bigger trouble with undrafted rookies Josh Hawkins and Kentrell Brice sitting behind them.
I don’t remember a time where there was more pressure on Rodgers’ back than now. The 32-year-old has 10 touchdowns, four interceptions and five fumbles (two lost) on the year. He has turned the ball over in all but two games and could really use a bounce back performance.
What the Bears are thinking
It’s hard to slow down Rodgers. That’s what history says, but the Bears have done a good job at containing opposing offenses this season.
The best bet is to make Davis or Jackson beat them out of the backfield. Getting to Rodgers will be crucial, so veteran leader Willie Young (5 sacks, 1 FF over the last two games) needs to continue his hot streak.
If Leonard Floyd can return from his calf injury that would be huge for this defense. As for Pernell McPhee, it doesn’t look likely that he’ll suit up this week, possibly on Halloween night against Minnesota.
This game isn’t a total mismatch for the Bears’ defense, but again with Tracy Porter and Bryce Callahan both questionable it won’t be an easy task. Jacoby Glenn is going to need to play better than he has the past few games in coverage.
Offensively, scoring points is the top priority as both Jordan Howard and Ka’Deem Carey will be leaned on in the running game. Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith are the top two receivers with Eddie Royal ruled out.
Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy will see more time and rookie Daniel Braverman could be activated for this one if the Bears think he is ready. If not, they’ll likely use Paul Lasike in a fullback role to power the offense.
Josh Sitton won’t have his homecoming return to Green Bay as the veteran guard is doubtful to play meaning Ted Larsen or Eric Kush will likely draw the start at left guard.
Despite all the injuries, the Bears’ offense should be able to hang around as long as they convert in the money area of the field (inside the 20). Not having Royal will be rough considering how important he has been on third downs, but that just means Zach Miller will have to step up that much more this week.
Final Score Prediction
Packers 30, Bears 20
The Bears will have issues all night against an angry Green Bay team that was booed at Lambeau Field in last week’s loss to Dallas.
Season prediction record: 2-4
Packers – OUT: RB James Starks (knee), CB Sam Shields (concussion), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), WR Jared Abbrederis (quad), S Chris Banjo (hamstring), TE Jared Cook (ankle), CB Damarious Randall (groin), CB Quinten Rollins (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Davante Adams (concussion)
Bears – OUT: Eddie Royal (toe), Deiondre’ Hall (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: Sam Acho (ribs), Bryce Callahan (hamstring), Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring), Leonard Floyd (calf), Jerrell Freeman (wrist), Zach Miller (ribs), Tracy Porter (knee)
Qwikcast.com Weather Report
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 30’s. Highs in the lower 50’s.
A look ahead
The Bears will host undefeated Minnesota in Week 8 before a Week 9 bye.
Read up on the five Bears players you should keep watch in Thursday night’s meeting with Green Bay, here.
Thoughts on the Bears-Packers matchup? Make sure to weigh in on the comment section below.
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