The Green Bay Packers offense showed us last week that they have the firepower and capabilities to have success against just about any defense, having done so against the Indianapolis Colts, who have one of the best in the league. This doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t struggle going forward, just simply that they do have what it takes to put up the points and yards against anyone. Aaron Rodgers and the offense face another very stiff test on Sunday night, as the Chicago Bears have another elite defense for the Packers to try and navigate against. While those two units will get a lot of the attention, and rightfully so, it will be the Packers defense that ultimately decides how this NFC North rivalry will turn out.
The Packers defense has been meh this year. Both with the eye test and statistically, they’ve left a lot to be desired. They’re 17th in points allowed per game (25.8), 13th in rush yards yielded per game (113.7), 14th in passing yards given up per game (230.6) and perhaps most alarmingly, are tied for 30th in takeaways with only nine so far.
This Packers defense does not lack playmakers on all three levels, which is puzzling given the lack of turnovers they have forced. Kenny Clark is a monster up front on the defensive line. Za’Darius Smith has pressured and gotten to quarterbacks with the best of them since his arrival in Green Bay. Jaire Alexander is a lockdown corner with great ball skills in the secondary along with guys like Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. The fact that this defense has those names, is producing less than a turnover a game and is ranked near the bottom of the barrel is mind boggling.
Enter the Chicago Bears. An offense that, if you’re a Bears fan, has probably made you consider shoving toothpicks straight through your eyes at various times throughout the season. I urge you to grab a barf bag or be near a toilet/sink as your eyes are burnt by these numbers.
The Chicago Bears are:
- 31st in points per game
- 25th in pass yards
- Dead last in rush yards
- 30th in red zone touchdown percentage
I could go on and on, but I digress.
It appears Mitchell Trubisky will be back under center on Sunday for the first time since Week 3 in Atlanta. It also looks like David Montgomery will be returning to the backfield. There’s been weird optimism amongst the Bears fans in having Trubisky return. They went from wanting him gone after the end of last season to, “Let’s give it one more shot,” to “Put in Nick Foles, I’m done with Trubisky,” to “Nick Foles is trash, Trubisky should be the guy.”
What a sad existence of a fan base to constantly waffle between those decisions.
If there were ever a week for the Packers defense to scream “ENOUGH” and put the clamps down, it would be this one against one of the worst offenses we’ve seen this year (maybe this decade?). I have my reservations, though. For as poor as that Bears offense is, this Green Bay defense has had so many lapses, so many odd calls in situational spots — basically playing prevent on 3rd and long all year only to give up a lot of those first downs.
For the Bears offense you have to be thinking it can’t possibly get any worse. Will the Bears be ignited by the turn back to Trubisky? Certainly only being two games behind the Packers in the NFC North should provide enough fire in Chicago’s belly.
Because there is structure with the Packers offense and the Bears defense, there is consistency, and there are expectations constantly being met and exceeded. That’s what makes the other side of the ball the difference-maker in this contest. Who the hell has any idea how Trubisky and this offense will look now that he more than likely is back under center? Who knows how this Packers defense looks as they have ridden the roller coaster all season long? We know most of what to expect when Green Bay has the ball, and when Chicago is on defense. When the other units are on the field is when you’re blindfolded trying to chuck darts at a moving board.
One would think they will try and find success on the ground first, as Alexander will try and cancel out Allen Robinson, and they may want to ease Trubisky back in. Factor in that the Packers have been susceptible to letting backs have some great games (James Robinson, Dalvin Cook, Ronald Jones, Jonathan Taylor), the plan early might be to feed Montgomery and see where it takes you. Again, I know the Bears are last in rushing yards, but it can not get any worse.
However this one unravels, I don’t see any wild or unforeseen things happening when the Packers have the ball and the Bears are on defense. The chaos, the unexpected, how this game is decided, will be what happens when Trubisky and the Bears have the ball and the Packers are on defense.