This always sounds like a setup when it involves Aaron Rodgers, but this game pits a Bears strength — their defensive front seven — against a Packers weakness — their offensive line.
Packers starting tackles Bryan Bulaga (ankle) and David Bakhtiari (hamstring) are doubtful. Swing tackle Kyle Murphy, who started the first three games, is on injured reserve with a foot injury.
Rodgers has been sacked 13 times in three games, but he’s still Aaron Rodgers. Despite being sacked six times against the Bengals last week, he threw for 313 yards, including plays of 72, 51 and 41 yards to receivers other than Jordy Nelson.
The Bears’ front seven, despite losing Jerrell Freeman two weeks ago, seems to be picking up steam.
“It’s a hell of a front seven,” Rodgers said. “Leonard [Floyd] has gotten better every year. Akiem [Hicks] — paying him was definitely a great decision. He’s a stud inside. Mitch [Unrein] and Eddie [Goldman] are very solid players. Willie Young and Pernell [McPhee] have been in the league a long time and played at a high level. Danny Trevathan is one of the hardest-hitting linebackers in the league. They’ve really done a good job of adding the right pieces.”
Behind Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, the Bears are coming off one of their most impressive rushing performances since the glory days of the Ditka era. In fact, their 220 rushing yards against the Steelers are the sixth-most since Walter Payton retired.
The Packers are 21st in the NFL in rushing defense (113.7 yards per game) and 25th in yards per carry (4.5). But Dom Capers has a knack for taking away a team’s strength, or at least the Bears’ strength.
Despite their low ranking against the run, the Packers are likely to do a better job of loading up the box to stop the run than the Steelers did. That will force Mike Glennon to be more than a check-down, handoff caretaker.
Glennon’s long pass play this season is 22 yards. He’s likely to have more opportunities to make plays downfield against the Packers than against the Steelers. It will be difficult for the Bears to pull off another upset without Glennon taking advantage of those opportunities.
The short week often favors the home team, especially an established one such as the Packers, who can put it on automatic pilot more easily than the Bears. But the Bears have played well in their two short-week games under Fox, beating the Packers in 2015 and leading in the third quarter (and trailing 13-10 in the fourth) at Lambeau last year.
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