Yes, it’s the first Bear Week for the 2011 season. The chance to once again rub salt in the wounds of Bears fans whilst polishing the Lombardi Trophy at the same time. Life could not be any better if you are a Cheesehead.
That said, let’s stop picking on the infidels and focus on the game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears this Sunday at poorly renovated Soldier Field.
The Packers enter this game 2-0 after surviving a much tougher than expected battle with the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. The win was costly however as Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins was lost for the season (and perhaps longer) with a neck injury. Running back James Starks continued to make his case to be the Packers featured back and despite the loss of Collins, the defense once again held tough when it counted and cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted two of rookie quarterback Cam Newton’s passes.
The Bears face their archrivals with a record of 1-1 after being beaten down by the New Orleans Saints 30-13. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler once again was thrown around like a rag doll after being sacked five times behind a very leaky offensive line. The Bears are also suffering a bought of injuries with tackler Gabe Carimi and wide receiver Earl Bennett missing practice time while receiver Roy Williams and safety Chris Harris had limited participation this week.
Breaking down Da Bears
On offense, you have to start with their beleaguered field general.
Cutler has taken a merciless beating since January, both on and off the field. After exiting the NFC Championship with a knee injury, many current and former players brought Cutler’s toughness into question and those questions lingered all through the lockout and into the preseason. On the field, Cutler once again is falling prey to far too many sacks behind a wounded yet still poor offensive line. The loss of Olin Kreutz in free agency to the Saints apparently did more damage to the team than originally thought.
On the bright side, running back Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the NFC and will provide the Packers defense a huge challenge. Not only is he a strong runner, but Forte has proven to be lethal in the passing game particularly on screen routes. Stopping Forte will be crucial to the Packers keeping the Bears out of the end zone on Sunday.