The Packers completed the comeback against the Bengals in week three. However, the Bears come to town on a short week. The Packers are still banged up at a lot of spots.
This game against Chicago will not be easy. The Bears have found some momentum after downing the Steelers on Sunday. They have their gameplan, and this game is one the Packers need when it comes to the division.
Here are three key match-ups to watch in the 195th meeting of Packers-Bears.
Packers Offensive Line Versus Bears Defensive Line
A lot of what happens tonight will come down to the trenches. Both David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga are out this week, so Justin McCray and Adam Pankey could be getting the starts at tackle. The Bears have a very good front seven, so the Packers need to hold up long enough to keep Aaron Rodgers upright. Many figure that the Packers will go back to what worked last year in Lambeau, which was the dink and dunk strategy. There will be a lot of quick passes Thursday night. Still, the Packers will throw in the occasional developing play, and the offensive line needs to be ready.
Let’s also not forget that the Packers also want to establish the run. Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams will certainly get carries. However, there may not be many holes if the offensive line can’t hold up. If they can’t, the Packers become one dimensional.
Randall Cobb/Lance Kendricks/Martellus Bennett Versus Bears Linebackers
We have discussed how good the Bears front seven is. That certainly includes Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan. The Packers will lean heavily on the quick passing game. This could rely on the guys in the slot and at tight end to win their match-ups quickly. Luckily, Randall Cobb is set to return after sitting out on Sunday. He was their most effective wide receiver through the first two weeks, so he could have a very good game.
Lance Kendricks is another Packer who is important. Kendricks has the speed to stretch the field, and he can make plays in the passing game. He caught a touchdown on Sunday and also had a 51 yard play to open the second half for the Packers.
Finally, it’s time for Martellus Bennett to step up. Bennett has probably heard it from the media this week. He has not played well in Green Bay to date. He had a big drop last week and also didn’t make much effort to get open on broken plays. He did have to stay in and pass block at times. However, his work in the run game wasn’t good. Look for Bennett to redeem himself, and the Bears give him an opportunity to win with his stature.
Packers Interior Defensive Line Versus Bears Interior Offensive Line
This matchup is huge for the Packer defense. Tackle is a weakness for the Bears, so Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and Ahmad Brooks will have opportunities to get to Mike Glennon. However, the Bears now possess a top running back duo. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are a very good duo who complement each other well. The Bears also have a great interior line to pave the road. With Mike Daniels possibly returning, they need to win that battle up front to stop the run. Both Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry need to build off of their solid performances last week and play with leverage to get off of their blocks and make plays.
Their other job is to help collapse the pocket on passing downs. Any help that this group can give as pass rushers will be necessary to stop Chicago drives in their tracks.
If the Packers can win these match-ups on Thursday night, we most certainly will be talking about a Packer win on Friday morning.
Jake Schyvinck covers the Packers and Chiefs for cover32. You can follow him on Twitter here.