The Chicago Bears travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers Thursday night in an interdivisional Week 2 battle that could ultimately play a huge part in what team finishes the 2012 season on top of the NFC North Division.
Last week yielded results not quite indicative of what we have grown accustomed to out of these two teams.
The Bears offense stole the show against the Indianapolis Colts in a trouble-free 41-21 victory, while the usually potent Packers offense couldn’t seem to get anything going in a 30-22 defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, arguably the best defense in the NFL.
Green Bay won both meetings in 2011 and will come into this game favored, but this should be a hard-fought contest on both ends, as Chicago enters 2012 with a much different mindset than in years past.
Here are bold predictions for each team in Thursday night’s matchup:
Matt Forte and Michael Bush Combine for 180 Yards and 3 Touchdowns
The Bears didn’t quite run amuck on the Colts defense last week, but Matt Forte and Michael Bush were efficient enough to show what they're capable of against teams that don’t defend the rush very well.
The Packers qualify as such a team after allowing Frank Gore and the 49ers to run for 186 yards in Week 1.
While Jay Cutler has challenged Green Bay’s cornerbacks in the past and looked very comfortable in the pocket en route to 333 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Colts, the Bears will do well in finding a groove early with their rushing attack.
This will also help soften the secondary so Cutler doesn’t find himself eating his own words during postgame interviews.
Packers Lose Back-to-Back Home Games for First Time since the 2008 Season
While it may not be a safe bet to expect Green Bay to lose Thursday night’s game, it also might not be smart to assume they'll win either.
The Packers should be able to throw the ball against the Bears defense—Andrew Luck and the Colts were able to tally 309 passing yards last week—but how much of that was due to Indianapolis needing to play catch up?
While there is absolutely no comparison between Aaron Rodgers and Luck—Rodgers is the much better quarterback at this point—the Bears draw up schemes remarkably well and have the personnel to limit Green Bay’s passing attack while shutting down the running game completely.
This should be a fun game to watch and the winner might have to approach 35 points to come out on top. The Bears showed last week that they have the fire power to keep up the better offenses in the league.
Don’t be surprised if Chicago is sitting at 2-0 and Green Bay at 0-2 after this matchup.