12

September

2012 NFL Regular Season Week 2: Packers – Bears Preview

Clay Matthews sacks Jay Cutler

Clay Matthews sacks Jay Cutler

To quote the Black Knight from Monty Python, “It’s only a flesh wound.”

The Green Bay Packers (and to an extent their fans) took one right in the chops during the season opener last Sunday at Lambeau, losing to the San Francisco 49ers 30-22.  The Packers made a game of it late in the second half, but thanks once again to putrid play by the Packer defense and some assists from the replacement officials, the Packers start the season 0-1 for the first time since Mike McCarthy’s rookie year as head coach in 2006.

Thankfully, the time for licking wounds and taking heat from rival NFC North fans is very brief this week as the Packers face their archrival Chicago Bears Thursday night at Lambeau Field. The Bears are 1-0 after a 41-21 blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field.  They are currently tied with the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions at 1-0 atop the NFC North.

While no Week 2 game is truly a “do or die” proposition, starting 0-2 with two conference losses and one loss to a divisional foe is not a hole the Packers want to be in. With the Lions already dangerous and the Bears showing marked offensive improvement, the last thing the Packers want is to play a game of catch-up when their defense is already suspect.

Let’s take a look at the Bears

Scouting the Bears

Though he’s a subject of scorn and ridicule amongst Packer fans (as well as the other 30 teams in the league), Jay Cutler had a great season debut and the chemistry between him and Brandon Marshall picked right up where they left off when they were last together in Denver in 2008.

Cutler finished 21 of 35 yards for 333 yards and two touchdowns along with one interception. Marshall racked up 119 yards on nine catches and had one touchdown.  Yes, the Colts secondary is poor, but the Packers don’t exactly have an elite defensive backfield either outside of an aging Charles Woodson.

Throw in a happy Matt Forte who signed a new contract in the offseason and the Bears suddenly have an offense to be reckoned with.   If Cutler can avoid the boneheaded throws and bad decisions, he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the game.  Do not underestimate Cutler’s abilities. He has the tools.