Interesting back-and-forth going on here between BJ Raji and Olin Kreutz. Not sure why Raji would necessarily initiate something like this, but one concern I have is that I don’t think Kreutz is that clean a player. While I do anticipate Raji will continue his strong play, I worry Kreutz might do something cheap after the whistle.
Even though Jay Cutler is the only Bear QB to ever have 3 games in a row with a QB rating over over 100 (doing this earlier this season), I don’t like his prospects for this game. Outside of those 3 games, Cutler hasn’t been that good this year to say the least. With Hester out and Woodson likely locked on Cutler’s favorite target Olsen, it doesn’t look good for the Bears’ passing game.
Lovie does beat the Packers – but his decision-making this year has been suspect.
Matt Forte has appeared to me to be a step slower this year. I know the Bears’ O-Line has been questionable and their offensive play-calling has been shoddy, but even when he’s had openings, he just hasn’t shown the burst and decisiveness he did last year.
I’m glad Mason Crosby claims that he hasn’t really lost any confidence. But I’m concerned a bit about the apparent fact that he doesn’t think he’s been THAT bad. He’s missed some big kicks and the concern I continue to have is that he seems extra unreliable beyond 40 yards.
Not sure where this is coming from, but I see a huge game coming from Ryan Grant. He’s had several good games lately, but I think this may be the week he breaks some of those tackles he should be breaking. He is one too, who may just get better as the season goes on (in part because he gets more carries later in the season.
Even though the Bears offense hasn’t exactly lit it up this year, my hope is that Capers dials up some quality blitzes because I seriously think Cutler panics when Olsen is covered.
If Woodson is assigned to Olsen, I will be very interested to see how it plays out. Cutler locks onto Olsen more than more rookie QBs lock onto their first reads. I can’t imagine that situation will work out well for the Bears, though Olsen is pretty good. One thing we should keep an eye on is the other TE (Desmond Clark or Kellen Davis). It’s possible Cutler will dump it off to either guy if Olsen isn’t an option.
I wouldn’t be surprised if our passing game simply overwhelms the Bears D. I can see lots of shorter passes over the middle taking advantage of what has now become a suspect Bears’ linebacking group (except Briggs).
If the Bears D keys on Finley, it might be smart for McCarthy to have a few plays drawn up for Donald Lee or Spencer Havner in 2 TE sets. But if the Bears don’t watch Finley carefully, they’ll be in trouble.
One thing I’ve been meaning to write about is what I’m beginning to think is a developing similarity between the Packers and the Saints. The Saints offense from week to week, seems to change the featured guys. As an opposing defense, it’s really difficult to know which guys will be featured. If Colston went nuts the previous week, he may very well do hardly anything the following week because #3 WR Robert Meacham might be up for the big game, or Devery Henderson or Jeremy Shockey or their back-up TE. They even do it at RB letting Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush take turns starring. I don’t know if this is something Sean Payton arranges before the game or if it’s because he’s just super good at making in-game adjustments. Either way, the final effect is that it’s just super difficult to know which Saints offensive players will be getting the ball, which gives the offense the wanted quality of unpredictability. Similarly with the Pack, more guys are getting involved in the offense and defenses are not sure which guys they should focus on. That’s why getting the ball to guys like Havner, Korey Hall, Jordy and James, is always helpful as it shifts the focus from the guys most consider our studs: Finley, Jennings, Driver, Grant.
I’m always nervous playing Lovie’s Bears because I know games against the Packers are way more important to Lovie than other games. But I’m not sure he has his team still, frankly, and I think the Packers right now are playing much better. Green Bay 31, Bears 14.
Rivalry game. This is the last important game for the Bears. Their superbowl. The Packers are coming off a short week against after a tough game. Bears are at home and could come out feisty and the Packers flat.
All that being said I think the Packers win this game. On offense they just create too many mis-matches for the Bears. Finley down the Tampa 2 seams. The WR’s on a suspect Bear’s secondary. If the o-line can hold their own it will be a LONG day for the Bear’s defense.
On offense the Bears will be without Hester. They are about the worst in the NFL at running the ball and the Packers play the run very well. Woodson will again take away Olsen and you’ll see Williams locked into Knox with S help on most plays. Cutler can make any throw but he just doesn’t have the o-line or the weapons to help him much.
The Packers are at a disadvantage on ST’s which can make a difference but it won’t in this game. The Packers offense needs to come out aggressive and go after the mismatches. Protect the ball and don’t give up ST’s points or field position and the Packers will roll 38 to 17.