Joe's 2011 Gameday Preview: Bears at Packers

December 26, 2011

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Joe Anello

Joe's 2011 Gameday Preview: Bears at Packers

Merry Christmas! Did you get everything you wanted this morning? Was Santa kind to you? Well you better hold onto that feeling, because it’s about to get ripped away from you on Sunday Night Football as the “somehow still in the playoff hunt” Chicago Bears head to Green Bay to take on the rival Packers. Yikes. Break out the eggnog as you read this preview… it’ll ease your mood going into the game.

 
(7-7) Chicago Bears at
(13-1) Green Bay Packers

When last these teams met, the Bears had their “full” complement of weaponry. Now they’re without quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Matt Forte and receiver Johnny Knox, not to mention a slew of offensive linemen that are on injured reserve. Instead of the dreadful Caleb Hanie, the recently-signed Josh McCown will get the start tonight in the hopes of sparking some sort (or ANY sort) of offensive output. McCown, who hasn’t started a game since 2007, shouldn’t have much expectations placed on him. I’ve barely seen him throw the ball in those four years since he got action in Detroit, but he won’t get much help tonight. Even beyond Forte and Knox, Marion Barber won’t see the field at all as he re-aggravated his calf injury from earlier in the season. That leaves Kahlil Bell as the starting tailback. I have NO idea where the Bears’ offense is going to come from, and neither do you. That’s not even mentioning Green Bay’s blitzing scheme that’s going to expose Mike Tice’s sub-par offensive tackles. Clay Matthews is going to see McCown in the backfield often. Oh, and if McCown’s injured or REALLY stinks? Caleb Hanie is the back-up. That’s right. Nathan Enderle can’t even make it on the active roster over a guy that will not return next year. High hopes for that “project.” (That was dripping with sarcasm, by the way.)

On defense, the Bears have the advantage in the trenches as the Packers are down two of their top three tackles with Bryan Bulaga and Chad Clifton inactive. Peppers should get to Rodgers at least twice with scrubs on the outside. Ryan Grant’s been getting more carries as of late, but Mike McCarthy still wants to air it out I’m sure, especially against the Chicago linebackers. The Pack is sans Greg Jennings tonight, but since they played without him last week, the other wide-outs will have a better understanding of their roles and how to get open. If Chicago had a better (and deeper) group of corners, they should study the Chiefs’ winning plan and pressure those receivers at the line of scrimmage. Knock them off their routes and maybe you can get a few mis-aimed passes from Rodgers. Maybe. But then again, Jermichael Finley probably goes off and Jordy Nelson probably is on the receiving end of a long bomb. Whoops.

The Odds:

Green Bay is a 13 point home favorite.

The Prediction:

With the number one seed on the line and a chance to rest next week? Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are going to blow that line away.

How many heart attacks will Joe suffer?

Since we’re going to be having Christmas dinner (with a TV in the room), the only question is how many times will I swear at the table. My early guess? Somewhere between four and six times.

Message to the Bears:

Uh… try not to suck too badly. Please?

 

That’s it… I can’t write anymore. I have food to eat and video games to play. (You know, fun stuff.) I’ll be back later tonight with a recap of the slaughter!

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