1

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

22

October

Packers vs. Bears will be a battle of the bruised and battered

Packers LB Clay Matthews will be one of many players in street clothes when the Packers play the Bears on Monday Night Football in a few weeks.

I know the Packers play the Vikings this week and we shouldn’t be looking ahead to the Nov. 4 Monday Night Football game against the Bears, but I can’t help myself. The number of talented players that might be watching that game from the sideline or on TV because of injuries is staggering.

Suddenly, the Black and Blue division has turned into the Broken Bones and Torn Ligaments division.

Likely/definitely out for the Packers (and their 2012 stats):

  • LB Clay Matthews (43 tackles, 13 sacks)
  • WR Randall Cobb (80 catches, 954 yards, 8 TDs)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (61 catches, 667 yards, 2 TDs)

Possibly out for the Packers:

  • LB Brad Jones (77 tackles, 2 sacks)
  • CB Casey Hayward (48 tackles, 6 interceptions)
  • WR James Jones (64 catches, 784 yards, 14 TDs)

Likely/definitely out for the Bears:

  • QB Jay Cutler (3,033 yards, 19 TDs)
  • LB Lance Briggs (102 tackles, 2 interceptions)
  • DT Henry Melton (43 tackles, 6 sacks)

Possibly out for the Bears:

  • CB Charles Tillman (85 tackles, 10 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions)

Let’s assume all of those players don’t play. Now let’s add up their 2012 numbers and combine them with each player’s 2013 statistics. This is what would be sitting on the sidelines during a marquee Monday Night divisional game.

  • 4,691 passing yards
  • 67 TDs (31 passing, 31 receiving, 5 defensive)
  • 279 catches for 3,432 yards (12.3 ypc)
  • 498 tackles
  • 28.5 sacks
  • 25 forced fumbles
  • 5 interceptions

And the NFL wants to add more regular season games, expand the playoffs, and possibly play a doubleheader on Thursday night.

Makes total sense to me.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

——————

24

September

Packers-Bears Preview: 2010 NFL Week 3: Black and Blue All Over

Now THAT was more like it.

Despite getting off to a sluggish start in the first half and after a fiery speech by a supposed red-faced Mike McCarthy, the Green Bay Packers ran over the Buffalo Bills 34-7.

This week, the Packers won’t be afforded the luxury of a slow start as they head to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears Monday night with first place in the NFC North on the line.

With two weeks of the 2010 NFL season now in the books, some trends are beginning to emerge. The Packer offense is every bit as potent as expected and the defense, despite some occasional shakiness, looks to have rebounded from the debacle that was last year’s playoff loss in Arizona.

Clay Matthews continues his torrid pace recording his second consecutive three sack game, a first in Packers history. Aaron Rodgers recovered nicely from a shaky game against the Philadelphia Eagles and the offense didn’t seem to miss a step without running back Ryan Grant who is out for the season on injured reserve.

The Chicago Bears enter this game as one of the biggest surprises of this young season. The Bears sit at 2-0 after a win over what could be a worse than expected Dallas Cowboys team and an incredibly lucky Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions when Calvin Johnson’s obvious touchdown catch as time expired was overturned by the officials.

With first place on the line and a potential three game lead over the Minnesota Vikings hanging in the balance, this is a very important game for both teams despite it being only Week 3.

Breaking Down Da Bears

I can’t believe I am typing this sentence, but Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is actually playing sound football. Thus far he has meshed nicely with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz and both men have been able to keep their bigger than average egos in check. Cutler has thrown only one interception thus far which is much lower than where he was at this time last season.

Cutler, to the surprise of no one, has found a reliable target in tight end Greg Olson despite the fact that tight ends usually don’t feature much in Martz’s offensive packages. He usually likes to stretch the field but with Chicago lacking in the wide receiver department (Johnny Knox aside, and I am still not convinced about Devin Hester), Martz obviously has decided to play to Cutler’s strengths.