Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers: Keys to the Game for a Bears Victory
Usually, when these two teams get together, you can throw out the records—but not this year. Both the Bears and Packers figure to compete for tops in the NFC North all season. All of a sudden, a Week 2 matchup at Lambeau Field becomes important.
The Bears have struggled against the Packers the last couple years. If they want to win one on the road, there are keys to the game that they are going to need to execute.
Here are the Bears' keys to a victory over the Packers.
Early in Week 1 against the Colts, the Bears offense gave up a sack, had a false start and a pick-six, all while being backed up at their own goal line. They were able to recover on the way to a dominant victory, but the Packers are a different opponent.
It is very possible the Bears might need to score a lot of points to keep up with Green Bay. You don't want to come out sluggish and play from behind. They are going to need to stay ahead of the Packers and allow their defense to play with a lead.
Being able to get into a rhythm early for Jay Cutler and the offense will be vital if the Bears want to leave town with a victory.
Establish the Run
The San Francisco 49ers were able to beat the Packers in Week 1 largely due to their running attack. By the end of the game, the 49ers had won the time-of-possession battle by six minutes against the Packers. The Bears will need to have a similar performance.
There was a huge discrepancy between the 49ers and Packers when it came to running the football. The 49ers finished with 186 yards on the ground to Green Bay's paltry 45. This allowed San Francisco to wear down the Packers defense and keep Aaron Rodgers on the sideline.
The Bears were able to out-rush the Colts 114 to 63 in their first game of the season. They also dominated the time of possession by having the football almost 11 minutes more than the Colts.
If the Bears want to beat the Packers on the road, they will have to win the rushing-yard and time-of-possession battles.
Protect the Football
Since coming to the Bears, Jay Cutler has only beaten the Packers once in six regular-season and playoff matchups. In those six games, he has thrown 12 interceptions. If he and the Bears want to beat Green Bay consistently, he is going to have to take care of the football.
Cutler has always been a quarterback prone to interceptions, but against the Packers, you just can't give Aaron Rodgers multiple opportunities. In any of those six games, Cutler has never finished with more touchdowns than interceptions. Meanwhile, Rodgers has done it five out of his nine games against the Bears.
You are doing your defense a major disservice when you give a dynamic offense a short field. If Cutler and the Bears want to win, he is going to have to limit the interceptions.
If protecting the football is important, then it's obvious to think creating turnovers is key. The Bears play a bend-but-don't-break defense. Creating takeaways has always been vital under Lovie Smith, and it becomes paramount against the Packers.
The Bears finally have an offense worthy of big plays and finishing drives. Give them multiple opportunities, and they will put points on the board in bunches. Forcing turnovers on the road can be demoralizing to the home team. When two quality football teams go at it, most of the time it's a turnover that can make or break the game.
The Packers running game is weak. Expect Aaron Rodgers to put the football in the air around 40 times. The defensive line needs to put pressure on Rodgers and frustrate him. The secondary and linebackers will need to be ready to make Rodgers and his offense pay for being one-dimensional.
Act Like It's a Big Game Because It Is
The Bears-Packers rivalry is the oldest and most storied of them all. It doesn't matter if it's only Week 2, this is still a big football game. If you want to beat the Packers in their building, you need to rev up and play your best.
If you want to call yourself elite, you have to beat an elite team, especially when they are in your division. Putting the Packers in a 0-2 hole to start the season is big. Taking control of a competitive division early on is even bigger.
The Bears can do both with a victory.
The team needs to come out, be fired up, play quality football and let the NFL know on national television that they are a force to be reckoned with. Knock off Green Bay in their building, and you will be considered upper-echelon by the next morning.