Five thoughts ahead of the Thursday night Bears vs. Packers matchup:
a) It’s early but there’s a lot of signs that this is the best offense the Bears have had since Mike Mccarthy got to Green Bay. An elite top-tier receiver in Brandon Marshall, a slew of complementary #2 and #3 wideouts, 2 healthy running backs who run with contrasting styles and a top-notch kicker give the Bears more juice than they’ve had in a long time. A much-maligned offensive line will slip up every now and then but is likely to be coached up enough to keep Cutler clean. Considering how the Packers defense has played in the last three home games, I predict the Bears are likely to score a lot of points. They have waited forever for a talent like Brandon Marshall to take on the Packers’ defensive backs and I expect him to have his way Thursday night.
b) San Francisco and Chicago are likely to be the two toughest defenses the Packers play all year (possibly Houston but I am not so sure they’re gonna be as good). The Packers offense which has struggled to find rhythm since the pre-season is likely to struggle for the second game in a row. An unsteady running game has never been a surprise but it doesn’t help an offensive line that is still gelling together to go up against Julius Peppers four days after going up against Patrick Willis and Justin Smith.
c) Outside of a game last Christmas when the Bears had basically quit on the season, Rodgers and the offense has gained a lot of yards against Lovie Smith but rarely converted them to points. Considering where the offense is right now, I think there is very high potential of this happening again.
d) Hence my prediction is a Bears’ win. Likely score is 33-30. At this point in the season, I do think the Bears have the better offense, defense and special teams. They have lost their last four and six of the last seven to the Packers. I expect them to steal one back Thursday night.
e) The Packers will thus start 0-2 for the first time since 2006. But I would not panic. This is what happens when a team that is a bit unsettled goes up against two hungry, angry and fierce defenses in the first two weeks of a fresh season. The Packers will then have 10 days to prepare and recover for their next game which will provide ample time and an easier opponent to start turning things around. Mike Mccarthy and Aaron Rodgers have over come significantly harder adversities in the past. This is a new one they’ll eventually get past.
Here’s hoping I am wrong about this prediction and here’s as usual to …..
Go Pack, Go