Bears vs. Packers — What to Watch 4

The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams connection is one of the toughest to stop in the NFL. Bears second-year cornerback Jaylon Johnson, though, also has playmaking ability.

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Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (making a difficult catch against Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara in 2018) had 11 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals last week \

Nam Y. Huh/AP Photos

Key matchup

There probably isn’t a wide receiver in the league who is as tethered mentally to his quarterback as Davante Adams is to Aaron Rodgers. Especially in tough moments — third downs, in the red zone, whenever the Packers need a big play — Adams finds a way to get open, and Rodgers finds a way to get him the ball, whether he’s open or not. 

“You look at the combos across the league in NFL history of quarterbacks and wide receivers that just have a connection and kind of have a sixth sense of knowing where they’re at,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “When you have that, and teams know you have that, it’s still tough to stop because they’re both elite at what they do. You’re not always going to stop them, but you’ve got to try to slow ’em down — that’s the biggest thing we need to do.” 

It figures to be a huge challenge for Bears second-year cornerback Jaylon Johnson but not an impossible one. Johnson is a rising star whose six pass breakups are tied for fourth in the NFL. And he learns well, so while he might get burned, he also is a candidate to come up with a big play himself.

Trending

In two games with Bill Lazor calling offensive plays, the Bears have averaged 165.5 rushing yards — with David Montgomery and Damien Williams combining for 161 against the Lions and Williams and rookie Khalil Herbert combining for 139 against the Raiders with Montgomery out. 

But now Williams also is likely out after being put on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which leaves Herbert and possibly fourth-year undrafted running back Ryan Nall to carry the load.

Player to watch 

Like any young quarterback, Bears rookie Justin Fields admires Rodgers.

“I just like how he’s always in rhythm when he plays the game,” Fields said. “That’s a piece of his game that I try to emulate.’’ 

Fields doesn’t have to be Rodgers on Sunday, but he likely will have to take his game to another level against a Packers defense without pass rusher Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander to give the Bears a chance at the upset. He could make a difference with his legs, but with Lazor making the calls, Fields has only four rushes for 15 yards.

X-factor

It’s the Packers. It’s Rodgers. And a big game for the Bears at home, with a chance to tie Green Bay for the NFC North lead.

“The timing of this matchup is very perfect,” safety Tashaun Gipson said. “I think we’re hitting our stride, they’re playing good football, so it’s going to be good-on-good. We’re excited about this. You can’t be in this building and not feel the sense of this rivalry.”

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