2014 Green Bay Packers: Season prediction – Part II

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Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) scores the winning touchdown against Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman (38) during the second half at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Week 10: Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears

Coming out of the bye week at 5-3, the Packers will be set up nicely to make a run at yet another NFC North title, and who better to start that off against than Chicago. Not only will Green Bay be looking for another division win, but they will be hoping to make up for the Week 4 loss to these same Bears.

As with last time, this is a team that matches up well against Green Bay, at least offensively. Cutler is a talented passer, Forte works well in the pass and run games, and the Marshall-Jeffery-Bennett group of pass-catchers towers over all defenders. Again, that last part is especially key against the secondary of Green Bay; they are surely as talented as any group across the league, but aren’t that big a group (outside of Clinton-Dix) and can be taken advantage of by a matchup like this.

If the Bears O-line keeps the Packers D off of Cutler, you can expect to see a good amount of that in action.

On the other side, Green Bay should be able to move the ball; the Bears defense is expected to still prove to be a lackluster unit over the course of the season. Rodgers is still the top QB in the league, Eddie Lacy is a talented bull of a runner, and the Nelson-Cobb combo at WR is followed by plenty of skill and potential. They aren’t a perfect group, but it is clear that to have a hope in stopping them, you better have an elite defense and catch some luck.

Last season, Chicago caught that luck. On that first series, Rodgers broke his collarbone. The Bears won, but it was still plenty close despite Seneca Wallace running the team for nearly the entire game on zero preparation (before anyone points it out, yes Cutler was out for that game as well. But that falls flat against the other factors here. One, Cutler was already known to be out beforehand so his backup was prepared. Two, the dropoff between backups was much less drastic –Cutler-to-McCown is much closer together than Rodgers-to-Wallace, with the added bonus of Rodgers being easily better than Cutler and Wallace discernably worse than McCown; McCown actually ended up putting up the top QBR of ANY quarterback last year during his time playing).

Who knows, the Bears could get lucky again this year. The offensive line in Green Bay is already a weak point, losing key players for the year (Don Barclay) or months (J.C. Tretter), and unproven players keep getting pushed into duty they can’t handle (such as Derek Sherrod, who allowed back-to-back horribly blown blocks). Any more losses there, especially if it happens near or during the game could throw the protection completely out-of-whack and cripple things.

There is no way to predict that happening though, and building up a team’s chances based on that is asinine. End of the day, you have to bank on who is expected to be out there, and having an offense led by Rodgers is a great advantage against any potential issues that may arise. Believe in Rodgers and expect the offense to provide a necessary win against their rivals.

Green Bay 34
Chicago  23