Mike Burzawa, editor of the Chicago Bears website Beargoggleson.com, spent a few minutes answering questions about today’s matchup.
Here is the text from the Q&A:
1.) The Packers are dealing with the loss of Collins, but the Bears head into Sunday’s game with Bennett and Carimi out and five other key players questionable. How much of an impact does this have on the Bears’ game plan and should even half of those players not suit up, do the Bears have the replacements that can do the job?
"Injuries to the Bears’ safeties scare me most because there’s a pretty big dropoff going from starters Chris Harris and Major Wright to Craig Steltz and Brandon Merriweather. Neither of the backups have a lot of experience, which could create opportunities for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers high powered offense."
2.) Many in Packers nation see this game as a pivotal one for both Jay Cutler and Coach Lovie Smith. If the Packers dominate and win big, could this be the beginning of the end for those two in Chicago? In other words, could this game be a signal as to what the future makeup of the Bears could be?
"I agree that it’s a critical game for the Bears, but I doubt that a bad loss would spell the demise of either Cutler or Lovie Smith. Lovie Smith has survived a few rough losses and landed on his feet. I don’t think that the futures of these two are necessarily tied together anyway. It’s more likely that if Mike Martz continues to be the Mad Scientist who forgets to add some balance to his offense, that he could be the scapregoat for the season."
3.) The Bears defense, always the team’s strength, looked awesome in the opener against Atlanta, but slipped a bit in the loss to the Drew Brees-led Saints. Is there concern the defense may be aging and losing a step?
"There’s no denying that most of the important players on the Bears defense are on the wrong side of 30, but none of them has shown any signs of slowing down. Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers and Tillman have excelled so far this season, despite a rough game against the Saints."
4.) Of the three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams – which do you feel is crucial to ensuring a Bears win against the Packers?
"I am going to say that the Bears offense needs to show up to win. We know what to expect from the defense and special teams, but it will be the offense that dictates if the Bears win or lose."
5.) So far, it looks like the Lions are the scariest team in the NFC North. Do you feel Detroit has arrived and is the team to beat this season or do you feel that they will have fizzled out by the end of the season and it will come down again to the Packers and Bears vying for the division title?
"Why don’t you save that question for the Lions’ blogger? Detroit is a Matthew Stafford injury away from mediocrity. They’ve looked good beating up on an uninspired Chiefs team and a yet-to-prove-anything Bucs team. If Stafford stays healthy, it will be an interesting race for the NFC North crown."
6.) With Gabe Carimi out this game, will the Bears offensive line have enough to deal with the many defensive looks the Packers are sure to throw at them?
"Losing Carimi definitely hurts since he’s looked solid in his first couple of games before getting hurt. Frank Omiyale will step in and do a decent job, but it will come down to recognizing blitz schemes and getting assignments straight along the offensive line. So many of the sacks on Cutler have come with a blitzer coming free unaccounted for. If the Bears line can’t get figured out Sunday, it could be a long day for Cutler."
7.) Your outlook on the game and prediction?
"The Bears always seem to play the Packers tough, especially at Soldier Field. Look for Jay Cutler to have a big day to bounce back from his NFC Championship Game performance and put that game behind him once and for all. Hester springs another return and a late turnover sinks the Pack’s comeback chances. Bears 26, Packers 21."