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November

Packers Periscope: Week 9 vs. Chicago Bears

The Past

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall started it off by bringing in a Charlie Brown Christmas tree to his press conference:

“Right now, metaphorically, our season looks like this tree right now where we’re standing.  Barren. Ugly. But there’s still hope. As a kid, it doesn’t matter how your Christmas tree looks. You’re still waiting for Christmas Day. You have hopes and dreams that Santa’s going to bring you those things you ask for. It’s always a possibility.  Where we stand today, our goal is to win the NFC championship, beat the Green Bay Packers, win the Super Bowl. All of that still can be under this Christmas tree. Whenever you’re down, you’ve got to try to create some type of balance, so this is a perfect little thing for me to keep me going.”

While all of that still could have been under the Christmas tree, the Packers entered the game at 10-4 only needing a win against the Bears to clinch the NFC North and an obvious ticket to the playoffs.  On the other hand, the Bears were reeling after losing 4 games out of their last 5 after starting red hot by winning by 7 of their first 8 games.

James Jones had the game of his career with 3 touchdown catches while Alshon Jeffery had a game to forget after getting called for 3 offensive pass interference calls while Brandon Marshall showed just how physical a wide receiver can be by bulldozing his way 15 yards for the touchdown.  On defense, both teams got pressure on the quarterback, with Rodgers being sacked 3 times while Cutler was sacked 4 times, but perhaps most importantly the Packers offense had zero turnovers while Jay Cutler gift wrapped an interception to Casey Hayward, which lead directly to a James Jones touchdown.  The Packers ultimately prevailed 21-13, clinching the NFC North while the Chicago Bears lost ground on the NFC Wildcard race, which Minnesota eventually won (after beating the Packers in the regular season closer).

 The Present

The theme of the game will be overcoming injuries; the Packers have basically shown over the last couple weeks that as long as the next man up isn’t Seneca Wallace, they have a shot at winning any game.  Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, James Jones, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry have all missed time over the last couple weeks, but the Packers have only paradoxically become more consistent and dangerous without them.  A bigger question comes from Chicago: can they survive without Lance Briggs, the successor to Brian Urlacher as the leader of the defense and more importantly Jay Cutler their starting quarterback?  Career backup Josh McCown takes over for Cutler, who left their week 7 game against the Redskins with a groin injury, and actually played better than Cutler; according to Football Outsiders, Cutler recorded a -83 Total DYAR while McCown recorded a 133 Total DYAR (For those who don’t follow Football Outsiders, Josh Freeman had a total DYAR of -136 while Aaron Rodgers had a total DYAR of 176 in week 7 for comparison).  The Bears have significantly improved their offensive line with 1st round pick Kyle Long and surprise right tackle Jordan Mills (who happens to be the cousin of Tramon Williams) and have only given up 11 sacks.  However their defense has regressed somewhat, their turnovers have naturally declined from the last year’s aberration and they are having problems sacking the quarterback, in particular Julius Peppers has only recorded 1 sack this entire season.  It will become very important that rookies Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene play well in replacement of DJ Williams and Lance Briggs but expect Aaron Rodgers to pick on the linebackers in a way that he never could when Brian Urlacher was with the Bears.

 

The Future

This is probably as close to a must-win game for the Bears as they’ll see this season; they desperately need to keep pace with the Packers and the Lions, who are only a half game off from first place and they’ll see both teams in the next two weeks.  Further playoff implications come from the fact that it looks likely that one of the NFC Wildcard teams will come from the NFC North, so head to head standings will play a huge part in getting into the playoffs if a team doesn’t secure the NFC North crown.  Also important is how Cutler’s injury affects the season; Cutler will be a free agent next year and GM Phil Emery and HC Marc Trestman have a big decision coming up; do you resign a established starting quarterback somewhere in the range of $18-20 million a year who you didn’t trade for or do you let him walk in free agency and hope to land the star of the future in the draft?  Certainly Cutler was playing a lot better under offense minded Trestman than defense minded Lovie Smith, but losing Cutler for 4+ weeks certainly won’t help in their assessment of Cutler.  Their decision could be made a lot easier if Josh McCown plays well and even wins a couple games in replacement of Cutler, then management might feel secure in developing a later round quarterback and calling the 2015 a mini-rebuilding season.

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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15 Responses to “Packers Periscope: Week 9 vs. Chicago Bears”

  1. Chad Lundberg says:

    I was confident against our last four opponents, and we won all those games, but this one has my ears and eyes perked up just a tad more. The Bears have been derailed by injuries, but that being said, they always put in that extra effort to beat the Packers, and they’re making it clear to everyone that they MUST win this game.

    What I’m really worried about is how the Packers pass rush might struggle in this game considering neither Perry or Matthews will (likely) not play, and the Bears have given up the fewest amount of sacks in the NFL behind Detroit.

    Our secondary is simply OUTSTANDING, especially when compared to other teams, but even the best corners can’t cover forever. If the Packers don’t get to McCown, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery could have a field day in the passing game.

    A win still very likely, but if there’s a game where the Packers are likely to give up a ton of passing yards, this is it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    • Art says:

      Chad, I agree with what you’re saying however, with NO, SF and Sea playing at a high caliber, every game to GB is a must (or perhaps an “almost” must) win particularly a home game. I don’t think anyone has any doubts about GB making the playoffs and very few are too concerned about winning the division however, after that seeding is so important, particularly in NO and Seattle.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      • Nick Perry says:

        I agree with Art. Trust and believe the Packers want to keep pace with Seattle and New Orleans. As it is now the Packers are a game back with one more loss. (Damn Bengals game) Records in the conference is going to go a long way in tie breakers with those teams making these division games all the more important.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I agree that Chicago-Green Bay can never just be predicted based on stats or performance. These teams know each other too well and care too much about the series to make it just a regular game.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    Pack wins big. Bears let Cut head go at years end after a 6-10 season. Defense goes to pot. Trestman and Emery get fired. Complete rebuild.

    Vikings ditto with Spielman and Frazier.

    Lions finish best of the bunch at 10-6. Schwartz hangs on for another year but his idiocy eventually catches up with him and the Lions fire him after 2014.

    GB wins the NFCN every year until Aaron Rodgers, TT and MM all retire (after 4 more super bowl titles) simultaneously in 2020.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I highly doubt Trestman and Emery will get fired that quickly. I’m pretty sure the McCaskey’s were tired of the defensive minded team under Lovie Smith and thus hired offense minded Trestman, they will keep him to see if it really makes a difference (and it has). As for Schwartz, I think the Lions fans are used to the thug mentality now, so there isn’t going to be a call for his firing based off of off the field incidence until they really tank a season.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Archie says:

    “GB wins the NFCN every year until Aaron Rodgers, TT and MM all retire (after 4 more super bowl titles) simultaneously in 2020.”

    That isn’t as far fetched as it sounds!

    GO PACK GO!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I dunno, I’m a Packers fan and that sounds pretty far fetched. Also on the flip side, can you imagine what a mess the Packers would be in with a new GM, new HC and new starting QB all at the same time?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  4. GBPDAN says:

    This is a big game for the Pack, I don’t see them having a let down game at all. The intensity should be high. The Pack will be playing in front of their home crowd on national tv against a divisional opponent and long time rival. MM will have his team ready , they all know that we must keep pace with the lions and also must win divisional game because it almost counts as 2 wins (a win for the Pack and a loss for their divisional foe). The best way to the playoffs is winning your division.

    I was hoping that Perry and J Jones would be back for this game. It looks like jones has a chance but Perry had a set back. We must muster up some pass rush with out Mathews and Perry against chicago’s improved Oline. This will be on of the big keys to this game. Chicago will not just layed down for this game. This is a huge game for them. The Bears have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game and will also be well rested.

    Pack 30 bears 23

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Nick Perry says:

      The Packers are going to run the ball up and down the field on the Bears. This is the game the Packers run for over 200 yards. Both Lacy and Starks will have big games. Without Briggs in the lineup it will be difficult to stop the Packers running game. Shea McClellin is not a run stopping DL. Without Melton in the middle the Bears will be wore down by the 3rd quarter. While I agree the Bears and Packers know each other, I can’t help but think this Packers running game is something their not familiar with. As we’ve all seen the last few weeks, it makes Rodgers all the more deadly. Does anyone else think Quarless may have a big game against two rookies playing inside for the Bears?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. gamer says:

    DYAR: Quarterbacks are ranked according to DYAR, or Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement. This gives the value of the quarterback’s performance compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage. DYAR (and its cousin, YAR, which isn’t adjusted based on opponent). HUH? NO WONDER there wasn’t an explanation offered in this article, as it may be a bit confusing? (albiet impressive) LOL.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  6. Shavager says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

    • Stroh says:

      Really? The Packers D rarely plays soft zone coverage. Hell the vast majority of the passing yards have come when the Packers have been up and then SWITCHED to zone coverage instead of continuing to play man. Williams hasn’t been getting the turnovers he had in ’10 and before, but his actual coverage has been good, not great like it was a few years ago, but still good.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Nick Perry says:

      Much of the Yardage came during the 4th quarter when the Packers we’re up big. They ave up a ton of yardage against the 49ers but they were without Hayward and Burnett. I’d like to see them play the 4th quarter like they do the 1st 3 quarters, but overall I like this defense. If they ever get completely healthy and have Perry and Matthews playing WITH everyone else, you’ll see 4 quarters of solid football. I also love NO ONE but us is talking about them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Jerry says:

    Even with all the injuries the Packers have I really didn’t consider the Bears a threat to unseat the Packers from the NFC North title and thats with Jay Cutler at the helm. But Da Bears coming to Lambeau with a second string QB and an old tired banged up defense that sucks against the run,which is now a key component of the Packers offense. Don’t see how the Packers lose this on! Da Bears Really Suck!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0