Week 13 Opponent: Green Bay Packers
By Mike Maguire
Packers Team Profile:
Record: (2-9) â€“ last place in the powerhouse NFC North.
Green Bay - 232 (21.1)
Da Bears â€“ 182 (16.6)
Green Bay â€“ 223 (20.3)
Da Bears â€“ 120 (10.9)
Overall Offensive Ranking:
Green Bay â€“ 18
Da Bears â€“ 28
Green Bay â€“ 9
Da Bears - 1
Last Meeting: Bears lost 31-14 in Chicago on January 2nd, 2005
Thereâ€™s no two ways about it; the Cheeseheads have owned the Bears throughout Brett Favreâ€™s storied career. Favre hasnâ€™t lost in Soldier Field since 1993. To say it has been a painful stretch in the rivalry would be a huge understatement. While the Bears may be riding high this season, they still should come out with a chip on their shoulder against Green Bay. The last decadeâ€™s worth of poundings combined with the magnitude of the Bears-Pack rivalry should help guard against a let down against the struggling, but still dangerous Packers.
The Packers have scored a lot of points this season. They have actually scored more points than they have allowed; an odd stat for a team with a 2-9 record. Some over anxious fans in Chicago may be expecting an easy Bearsâ€™ win, and the Bears are 7-point favorites, but this game will not be a push over. Iâ€™m sure Bears fans are tired of hearing it, but it has to be said; Brett Favre has only lost 1 game in his career at Soldier Field, and has won the last 11 in a row.
Coach Lovie Smith has called this weekâ€™s game the most important of the year. One of the reasons youâ€™ve got to love Lovie is that when he took the job last year he declared beating the Packers one of the key goals of his rookie season, and he hasnâ€™t let up on that intensity during his sophomore campaign. Lovie made an issue about making this rivalry mean something to him, and right then he won my support. The Packers game should mean something to him, because it sure as hell means something to all of us.
Injuries have crippled Green Bay this season and the players who have stepped in to fill the gap have been inconsistent. Having inexperienced players at skilled positions can slow an NFL offense to a crawl, as Chicago Bears fans know all too well. Despite the unfamiliar faces around him, Brett Favre cannot help but try to make plays. As always, Favre is still trying to force the ball to his receivers and turnovers are more of a problem than ever for the Packersâ€™ offense. The Packers QB has thrown 19 interceptions and fumbled 5 fives this season, and the Bears will need to capitalize on Packers mistakes on Sunday to get the win.
On offense it will be more of the same for the Bears, but with a better result. The Bears offense has managed to do just enough to get wins the last two weeks against tough defenses in Carolina and Tampa Bay. Green Bay is adequate on defense, but they are susceptible to the big play, and itâ€™s just about time for the Bears â€œstrike every three weeksâ€ offense to make a play or two. The Bears will stay committed to running the ball against Green Bay, but a big play through the air could be in the cards as well.
Fortunately, the Packers do make mistakes and like to give the ball away on offense; the Bears get turnovers and make big plays on defense, and that is a recipe for success. I think the Packers will find the end zone against the Bears, but I donâ€™t think it is going to happen twice. Green Bay wonâ€™t be able to score enough to overcome the mistakes they are going to make in Soldier Field against the NFLâ€™s top defense. Lovie will have the boys fired up on Sunday, and he just may have a trick or two up his sleeve as well.
Bears Win 20-13.
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