Chicago Bears Week 12 Preview: Green Bay Packers


The Chicago Bears face the Green Bay Packers in a Thanksgiving night matchup. They are hoping to spoil the Packers’ Brett Favre night, and show that they can compete and beat them.

The Chicago Bears face the Green Bay Packers in a Thanksgiving night game. The Packers ended their three-game slide last week by beating the Minnesota Vikings, while the Bears had their two-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Denver Broncos.

This is the NFL’s longest running rivalry, but interestingly it is the first time the two teams square off on Thanksgiving. The Bears own a 93-92-6 lead in the series, but the Packers have won the last four games.

The Bears will have their reinforcements ready for the game. After being without Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery and Antrel Rolle against Denver, Forte and Jeffery practiced and look like they will play. Rolle did not practice and it does not look good for him. And, of course, the news on Jeffery could turn at any moment.

Making things more difficult is the fact that tight end Martellus Bennett has been ruled out for the game. He hurt his ribs against Denver, and the short week was not enough for him to recover and play.

After two good performances in Forte’s absence, Jeremy Langford had a mediocre game last week. Of course, it did not help that he was going up against the NFL’s best defense, so he gets a pass, and he did get the last touchdown that brought the Bears to within two late in the game.

Forte is glad to be back. “I’m excited just to get back out there,” Forte said. “Not really a lot of fun watching the games and doing all that and not be able to help your team win, so I’m not really used to doing that. But it’s going to be fun to get back out there on the field and help us out. Just looking forward to being out there.” 

Having Forte back adds some options for offensive coordinator Adam Gase. “I think any time you’ve got two really talented running backs, it’s not going to be a problem,” Gase said. “You’re always trying to find the hot hand. I think Matt Forte getting back; it’s going to be exciting for me. I felt like we had a great rhythm going when he was in there. I thought Jeremy did a great job as far as stepping in and keeping that momentum going, and now, we have a chance to have a really interesting one-two punch here with Matt and Jeremy.”

Without Jeffery extending the field, Jay Cutler had trouble finding open receivers against the Broncos. Denver’s defense completely ignored the long pass. and played the receivers tight. The Bears did not make the proper adjustment until late in the game, when they put Martellus Bennett out like a wide receiver. His size and strength drew attention, and freed up Marquess Wilson, who had 102 yards receiving.

Now, if Jeffery is indeed playing, he extends the field, and Cutler can go with the underneath passes, which he’s done well this year. They can also use Langford and Forte as a tandem, keeping both fresh at the end of the game.

Forte had 141 yards rushing against the Packers in their Week 1 matchup. Having Forte fresh could mean another big day for him. While the Bears have had trouble beating the Packers lately, Forte has had a lot of success, rushing for over 100 yards in four of his last five games against them.

In order for that to happen, Clay Matthews needs to be neutralized. He was instrumental in holding Adrian Peterson to just 45 yards, shadowing him the entire game. In the last game against the Bears, he had a key interception in the fourth quarter that led to a game-sealing touchdown.

Defensively, the Bears’ defensive line needs to get their act together and stop the running game. Denver came in with the 29th-ranked rushing attack in the NFL, yet they ran through the line as if it was made of yarn. Ronnie Hillman had about 20 percent of his season’s total yards against the Bears.

Eddie Lacy has had injury troubles this season, but he came back last week and rushed for a hundred yards. Eddie Goldman and the rest of the linemen need to make a stand on Thursday for the Bears to have a legitimate shot at winning.

More from Da Windy City

Here we are again, trying to figure out how to stop Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has just killed the Bears, much like Favre did when he played.

Rodgers went to James Jones a lot in the first game against the Bears, and Jones responded with two touchdowns. He did well against the Vikings last week, recording 109 receiving yards and a touchdown. With all the injuries to Green Bay’s receivers, Jones may be Rodgers’ favorite target on Thursday.

The Bears secondary must be ready for another Rodgers air assault. He has just been torching the Bears. He has thrown for over 300 yards in three of his last four games, and has 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions over that period.

Next: Chicago Bears Lose Tough Game, Take A Hit

Not having Rolle will make the job of stopping Rodgers tougher. The secondary unit is better than it was early in the season, however, and they will need to be on the same page to come away with a victory.