Packers vs. Bears: Five key matchups
By Dan Dahlke
Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen (69). Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
5. Bakhtiari/Bulaga vs. Chicago’s Edge Rushers
Chicago’s defense has been awful the past few seasons, but they do have a handful of pass rushers that can generate pressure.
In the offseason, they brought in former Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee. As a rotational player, McPhee recorded 7.5 sacks last season. He’s a young, ascending pass rusher who could give Bakhtiari some trouble on the edge.
Bakhtiari is coming off an injury and hasn’t played since the preseason opener. He’ll need to be back to full strength to ward off McPhee and company.
The Bears also have former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and former Raider Lamarr Houston rotating at the other outside linebacker spot. They’re both capable pass rushers who can move around the field and exploit weaknesses in pass protection.
Like Bakhtiari, Bulaga is also a little banged up and may struggle this week protecting the edge. The Packers’ success on offense may hinge on how well their two young tackles hold up in pass protection.
Chicago’s best chance at slowing down the Packers high-powered offense is to get pressure on Rodgers and throw him out of sync.
If Green Bay’s line can consistently give their MVP quarterback a clean pocket, then they’ll have no trouble moving the ball and lighting up the scoreboard on Sunday.