Bears vs. Packers: What to Watch 4
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
As much as quarterback Aaron Rodgers has tormented the Bears through the years, the Packers have flummoxed them with their running game, too. They’ve averaged 146 yards rushing and 5.7 yards per carry in five games against coach John Fox’s Bears.
Rookie Aaron Jones has been the latest revelation, albeit a hot-and-cold one. He had 13 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown against the Bears after Ty Montgomery suffered broken ribs in Week 4 and had breakout games against the Cowboys (19 carries, 125 yards, one touchdown) and Saints (17 carries, 131 yards, one touchdown). But he only had five carries for 12 yards last week against the Lions.
The Bears are 13th in the NFL in rushing defense and might be without linebacker Danny Trevathan (calf). Christian Jones, playing for injured/suspended linebacker Jerrell Freeman, leads the Bears in tackles. Nick Kwiatkoski would start for Trevathan.
Montgomery has returned and bears watching. He is averaging 8.3 yards per carry against the Bears (30 carries, 250 yards) and 3.8 yards per carry against the rest of the league (115 carries, 440 yards).
The Packers are 2-10-1 when Rodgers doesn’t start or finish a game because of injury, including 0-3 this season. They were 4-1 when Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone in the first quarter against the Vikings. They lost that game 23-10, then lost to the Saints 26-17 and the Lions 30-17.
Brett Hundley, a fifth-round draft pick from UCLA in 2015, will be making his third NFL start. Hundley struggled in his first start against the Saints (12-for-25, 87 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, 39.9 rating) but showed significant improvement against the Lions (26-for-38, 245 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, 86.0 rating).
Hundley’s mobility might be his best asset. He has rushed seven times for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
‘‘Just like with Aaron Rodgers, you’ve got to be careful with his feet, getting out of the pocket,’’ Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks said. ‘‘He’s maybe not as refined or as good [as Rodgers], but he has all the same tools at the line of scrimmage as far as hard-counting and things like that.’’
The Bears have the added pressure of meeting the highest expectations for a victory in three seasons under Fox. They are six-point favorites, the first time they have been favored against the Packers since 2008.
The last time the Bears were favored under Fox, they were coming off a bye after a victory against the Vikings in Week 10 last season. They fell flat in a 36-10 road loss to the Buccaneers. This will be a test of just how far they’ve come under Fox.
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.