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Key Matchups: Packers vs. Bears Part II- The Battle of Midway

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Key Matchups: Packers vs. Bears Part II- The Battle of Midway

Here we find ourselves in the month of December with the Green Bay Packers still in search of their first road win of the season, while still somehow finding themselves in the hunt of the NFC Wild Card picture.  The way fate would have it, the rest of the potential wild card teams have found their way back to the pack, and now, "the Pack" have been graced with an opportunity to win a game on the road and realistically give themselves a chance to earn a wild card birth as they have an easier schedule than the rest of their competition.  

If the Packers hope to score their first road win of the season, they will have to go into Soldier Field against a fueled and motivated Chicago Bears team who is well aware that their arch-rival is currently riding an eight-game winning streak against them that has seen them lose consistently in heartbreaking fashion.

Pro Bowl caliber edge rusher Akiem Hicks reminded the Packers this week that the Bears remember Aaron Rodgers talking in his press conference about the Packers success at Soldier Field and assured him that they would be ready to take him and the Packers down this Sunday.    

Sunday Afternoon’s matchup at Soldier Field will put the Packers streak up against the Bears will to send a statement to the rest of the NFC, that they will be a force to be reckoned with in January.

Here are the key matchups to look for in the week 15 battle of Midway in Chicago's Soldier Field:

For this week's contest against the Bears, the formula for a Packer victory or a Packer defeat will be a pretty straightforward blueprint.  The Packers will have to sure up the right side of their offensive line and Mike Pettine will need to find ways to counteract Matt Nagy's versatile and diverse offensive attack.  Any hope for a Packers win will start and end with the offensive line protecting Aaron Rodgers.

1. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks vs. Justin McCray and Jason Spriggs (and company)

In my opinion, the success or failure of the Packers in week 15 relies solely on how the right side of the offensive line will hold up against Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks.  If the Packers are able to do just enough to contain the Bears dynamic duo they will have a chance to make plays, sustain drives, and keep Matt Nagy's offense off of the field.

The success of the Packers offensive line keeping Aaron Rodgers protected relies not on just his lineman but also relies on Joe Philbin's play calling, as well as Aaron's ability to make quick reads and get rid of the ball at a lightning speed.  Joe and Aaron need to duplicate the playbook from the 2nd half of the first meeting at Lambeau and spend a majority of the time in the hurry-up offense which will cause the Bears defense to become more easily fatigued and disjointed on prolonged drives.  

Aaron needs to play his best game of the season in order for the Packers to extend their winning streak against the Bears to nine straight games.  In order to do this, he will have to have his best game reading his progressions, eliminating some of his throwaways in favor of check downs (whenever possible), and throwing plenty of screens, quick passes, and slants throughout the course of the game to extend drives and score points.

2. Matt Nagy vs. Mike Pettine

The second most important matchup of this contest will be whether Mike Pettine can devise a game plan to contain the Bears dynamic playmakers while still sacking the quarterback.  In the limited amount of games that I have watched the Bears offensive at work, I have noticed that Matt Nagy has brilliantly been able to utilize each of his weapons in many different ways in order to move the ball down the field, sustain drives, and put points up on the board.

Whether it be through misdirections, jet sweeps, read options or other forms of trickery, the Bears have consistently put enough points on the board, and made enough explosive plays to be sitting atop the NFC North with a 9-4 record.  

It is not a secret that the Bears defensive unit is the staple of their team but what cannot be lost in the fray is that their offense can just as easily put up 30 points against you if your defense cannot hold containment with their running game or stop their intermediate passing attack in key situations.  

This is why it will be important for the Packers to get to, and sack Mitchell Trubisky with minimal pass rushers.  In a perfect world, the Packers would dial up a perfectly designed blitz package of three of their edge rushers through the A gap, while sending a corner blitz on the outside to ensure a sack or force a throwaway.  

The reality is that it could take the Packers five or even six pass rushers to bring down Trubisky which would give the Bears the advantage in those situations because he can utilize the quick passing game with Burton, Miller, and Robinson, the screen game with Tarik Cohen, or just tuck the ball away and run for positive yards by himself.

3. Davante Adams vs. Kyle Fuller

In a game that in my opinion, is going to boil down to the crucial battles of two personnel groups, there is one individual matchup that catches my eye that the Packers must win, in order to come away with a victory on Sunday Afternoon, and that is the matchup of Davante Adams and Kyle Fuller.  I see this rivalry game being a closely contested battle as it usually always is, which makes me believe that the game could come down to a big play contested between these two players.  

Will Kyle Fuller be able to secure a late-game interception in this installment of the rivalry, or will the superior footwork of Davante Adams put him in a situation to beat Fuller on a double move leading to a late-game touchdown for the Packers?

Predictions

  • Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks shred the right side of the Packers offensive line early, leading to at least one turnover.
  • The Packers finally counter the Bears pass rush with the hurry-up offense to get back in the game.
  • Randall Cobb is an x-factor in the slot and takes advantage of the revived slant game.
  • Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense keep the Packers guessing and makes a few big plays.
  • The Packers offense starts slow but builds off of last week's performance.
  • Mason Crosby misses a field goal late.
  • The Packers eight-game winning streak is snapped and they lose a heartbreaking 24-21 game to the Bears.        

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

The most key matchup is Rodgers v Rodgers. There is no doubt in my mind that he still has the skills he's shown in the past. Something upstairs is the biggest issue.

He showed up for one half on a gimpy knee to deal a them a very bad loss in week 1. Given his play since, I don't particularly like the Packers chances this week. But I'd never count them out with him playing.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree fully. I loved the opening drive but watched AR (and/or Philbin) wander away from the good things in that drive. Not the first time the opening scripted drive has been good this year.

I don't care if Philbin goes 4-0. I am looking for changes in AR's approach, philosophy, and his own fundamentals. If I don't see them, then I don't want Philbin back.

Kb999's picture

Mr. David, I think you got this one wrong. The Bears win on paper but the Packers have their number. Packers upset the Bears.

White92's picture

Really afraid the decimated interior defensive front will allow the Bears to run the ball too effectively for the Packers to win this game. If the Packer D can force the Bears to make Turbisky beat them, and keep him in the pocket, they got a shot.

Samson's picture

AR as Elmer J. Fudd: -- "Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting da bears".

Unfortunately (pic above), AR (in road uniform) mimics Bugs Bunny near the end of the Bear game -- "A deba a deba, that's all folks."

dobber's picture

I think we'll see the Packers roll #12 a little more often and move the pocket for him. I expect Marcedes Lewis to get his season high on snaps, too, but not to run many routes. Teams have been trying to get the ball out fast against the Bears all season...I think Packers success will come from getting Aaron Jones in space and letting him work. He can do a lot to keep the Bears honest all by himself.

I would argue that Pettine needs to look at how teams defend ARod and think about applying that to Trubisky. Make him play from the pocket and keep him from running free. He will make mistakes if forced to win on his arm. Frankly, coverage might be the strength of this Packers defense right now.

Nick Perry's picture

This week I went on You-Tube and watched a video of "Every Aaron Rodgers TD Pass vs the Bears". What I saw was a LARGE number of those TD passes went to Randall Cobb.

David mentioned it in his "Predictions" and I've been thinking it all week. Especially since the Bears starting Slot CB is out with an injury. Cobb has been a Bear Killer since he came into the NFL AND he's made a habit of RIPPING Bears fans hearts out in the 4th quarter.

henry113's picture

Agreed, Cobb is the key.

Lphill's picture

If Aaron Rodgers shows up the Packers win. The pressure is on the Bears to win the NFC north at home. I think the Bears play sloppy and turn it over a few times.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"Whether it be through misdirections, jet sweeps, read options or other forms of trickery"

So, basically the opposite of McCarthy?

Rufus's picture

ARod needs to get rid of the ball fast. Take a page out of Tom Bradys book. These guys can be beat. We beat them week 1, we can beat them again.

Bearmeat's picture

Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears. He has his entire career. The only team that can beat Green Bay tomorrow, is Green Bay. Have a plan to deal with Hicks and Mack. Let the WRs do their work against the Bears completely overrated secondary. Keep Mitch in the pocket and wait for Cutler, I mean Mitch, to throw the ball to the wrong team.

Packers0808's picture

I am Packer fan and predict game won't even be close! Bears win by AT LEAST 3 TD's!

EdsLaces's picture

Rodgers looked so much better last week. Kinda fishy to be honest. Its weird to even think that he was missing those throws on purpose all season, but hes an ass I wouldn't rule it out. With their safety out I bet he torches this secondary. Get MVS the dang ball again he has completely disappeared. Go pack go 23 24 good guys.

PatrickGB's picture

I agreed with the prediction except for one point. That Mason would miss a FG. But then I remembered that the field there has often been poor. And in response to some posters I really don’t think that Rodgers tanked this season on purpose. He is too competitive for that nonsense.

CAG123's picture

Anyone else think “Damn Eddie Jackson was right there for the taking and they picked Vince Beigel” smh.

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