by Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears, who are coming off a huge win against the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday night, will take on their division rival, the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Packers are coming off a 20-15 win against the lowly Washington Redskins. This is their second game against one another as they met in Week one. Green Bay won that game 10-3.
The Packers have been leading the NFC North for most of the year and need a win to help cement themselves as the leader in the division. The Packers could be going places.
The Bears, on the other hand, have struggled after having so much promise to start the year. While they have very slim playoff hopes, if they can win and get some help, it’s more likely that they are going to be sitting on the sidelines this post-season watching the Packers play. But that’s not to say that the Bears aren’t good. They have gotten much better and have a chance to chip away at the Packer’s playoff hopes.
How do both teams stack up? Let’s look at the numbers and see how they compare against one another. Who will come out the victor in this game?
Let’s find out.
Bears on Offense
The Bears offense was quite a bit better Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys, and it has been progressively getting better as the last few games have worn on. Granted, the numbers are still low but that’s due to the slow start that the Bears had and the inconsistency in the middle of their schedule.
Things are looking up, though.
Chicago is ranked 26th in the league in points per game averaging 18.7. This is up a little bit due to the points explosion they had last week (their highest points output of the year). The Green Bay Packers defense is allowing teams to score an average of 20.8 points which is 13th. This Bears team is improving week to week and I would expect them to continue that improvement this weekend against the Green Bay Packers.
Chicago upped its yardage total a little bit. They are still ranked 29th gaining just 289.5 yards per game but, as we have seen, they can put up some yards. Green Bay’s defense is 22nd in the league allowing 367.9 yards per game. The Bears should be able to get some yardage and keep the game interesting. Hopefully, with the help of their defense, they can keep ahead of the Packers and win this game.
The passing stats haven’t been as good as Bears’ fans would like them to be. It wasn’t until recently when the Bears finally got their passing game going so it’s not showing, so much, in the rankings. The Bears are ranked 28th in passing yards averaging just 204.6 yards per game. That’s low but the last couple of games have been breakout games for the passing offense, led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. He must have gained some of his confidence because he looked good against the Cowboys. But how will he look against Green Bay?
The Packers’ defense is allowing teams to throw for an average of 245.1 yards per game which is 21st in the league. While the Packers defense looks stout when you watch them, on paper, they aren’t as stout as one might think. The Bears need to take advantage of what the Packers could give them Sunday and air the ball out. It will go a long way towards helping them move the ball down the field and score points.
Finally, there is the Bears’ much-maligned rushing attack. It got a bit of a boost last Thursday as the Bears, including both David Montgomery and Trubisky, got it going on the ground and moved the ball effectively. Granted, the Bears still rank in the doldrums of rushing averaging just 84.8 yards per game which is good for 29th but they have the weapons to have a breakout game against the Packers.
Green Bay’s rushing defense is allowing teams to gain an average of 122.8 yards on the ground. This means that the Bears should be able to run on the Packer’s defense. That, of course, is if they plan to get the running game going, which they should. It’s essential that they control the ball and the clock and keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’s hands.
Bears on Defense
The Bears defense has been stout, for the most part, this season and continued to be that way against the league’s number one offense last Thursday night. Can they match wits with the Packers offense and slow them down?
Let’s look at the numbers and find out.
When it comes to points allowed, the Bears are giving up just 17.8 points per game which is 4th in the NFL. That’s a tough defense. The Green Bay Packers are scoring an average of 23.8 points per game which is 13th. The Packers can put up a lot of points in a hurry and the Bears need to be wary of what they can do. They always play the Packers tough but the Packers play tough as well. I would expect the score to be low because Chicago’s defense isn’t going to allow Rodgers and company to score a lot on them.
Total yards is always an interesting stat. The Packers’ offense is gaining 340.1 yards per game, total, which ranks them as 23rd in the NFL. Chicago’s defense is 10th in the NFL allowing 326.5 yards per game. If the Bears can hold the Packers while their offense gets going, the Bears could easily win this game.
The passing game is where the Packers have found their bread and butter, for the most part, but they have gotten some production out of the running game. They are averaging 107 yards per game on the ground while the Bears are allowing just 96.3 yards per game. The Packers are ranked 17th in the league rushing the football while the Bears are ranked seventh against the rush.
If the Bears can tighten up their rush defense, this could be a tough game for the Packers on the ground. And that’s exactly what the Bears need.
Finally, Chicago’s pass defense is an area that has been one of decent strength for them this year. They are currently allowing 230.2 yards per game through the air which is good for 13th. The Green Bay Packers have been gaining 233.1 yards per contest making them 16th. These numbers are interesting because you would get the impression that, with Aaron Rodgers, the Packers would be explosive in the passing game. But that has not been the case this year.
Rodgers has been somewhat pedestrian. Hopefully, the Bears can take advantage of that.
The following are the players that are listed on the injury report as of Thursday this week:
Ben Braunecker-TE-Concussion-Did not practice (he is now on IR)
Taylor Gabriel-WR-Concussion-Did not practice and is out.
Bobby Massie-OT-Ankle-Did not practice and won’t play.
Danny Trevathan-LB-Elbow-Did not practice and won’t play.
Javon Wims-WR-Knee-Did not practice.
Roy Robertson-Harris-DE-Foot-Did not practice.
Prince Amukamara-DB-Hamstring-Amukamara practiced in full and should be good to go.
Cordarrelle Patterson-WR-Hamstring-Patterson was limited in practice this week.
Green Bay Packers
Davante Adams-WR-Toe-Was limited in practice this week.
Geronimo Allison-WR-Knee-Allison was limited in practice.
Tony Brown-CB-Heel-Practiced in full.
Bryan Bulaga-OT-Veterans Rest-He was limited in practice this week.
Jimmy Graham-TE-Wrist-He was limited in practice this week.
Kevin King-CB-Shoulder-Limited in practice.
Marcedes Lewis-TE-Veteran Rest-He was limited in practice this week.
Blake Martinez-LB-Hand-Practiced in full this week.
Billy Turner-G/T-Knee-Limited in practice.
Danny Vitale-FB-Calf-Limited in practice this week.
Tramon Williams-CB-Veteran Rest-He was limited in practice this week.
Josh Jackson-CB-Personal-Did not practice one day this week.
The Bears and Packers rivalry is renewed again. Both teams are hungry for a playoff berth but the Bears maybe just a little too far out of it to get into the postseason. But they still have a lot to play for and are playing very well right now. It’s likely that this game will come down to the play of the defenses and the Bears have the better of the two. If the offense, in particular, Mitchell Trubisky, doesn’t make too many mistakes, the Bears should win this game.