Thursday Night Football: Bears Running Game Will Be Deciding Factor vs. Packers

Chris TrapassoAnalyst ISeptember 13, 2012

Aug 24, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) against the New York Giants during the first half at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Jay Cutler's "good luck" comment? Absolutely brilliant. Perfectly planned.

Not surprising, though. He went to Vanderbilt. He's a smart guy. 

It instantly strikes fear into even the most optimistic Green Bay Packers fans. Cutler's right—Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are quite the physically intimidating outside receivers. With them, you certainly welcome man-to-man press coverage as an offense. 

He's in a position to make a confident claim, so why not do it before facing a divisional rival?

It also naturally draws the focus away from what might be more difficult for the Packers to stop tonight: Matt Forte and the Bears' running game. 

Yeah, I said it. 

Chicago's ground game will prove to be the determining factor in this NFC North clash. 

The way Green Bay's defense made Alex Smith look like Joe Montana last week is fresh in everyone's mind. 

San Fran's quarterback, who's undeniably improving but has never been anything more than a game manager, completed 20-of-26 passes for 211 yards with two touchdown passes.

Theoretically, a Jay Cutler-led aerial attack with more potent weapons should be able to tear through the Packers secondary. 

While that may ultimately be the case this evening, who's to say that Aaron Rodgers won't shred a Bears secondary that allowed 309 yards to Andrew Luck in Week 1?

A push between the two dynamic passing attacks is definitely not out of the question, right?

However, we mustn't forget the way the 49ers' running backs ran all over the Packers' defensive unit. They carried the ball 32 times for 186 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and helped Jim Harbaugh's squad control the clock, especially in the second half. 

Conversely, the Packers averaged a mere 3.2 yards per rush against the 49ers. Yes, San Fran's run defense is crazy good, but recently, Green Bay hasn't shown anything that suggests it's even willing to run with some regularity, let alone the ability to pick up nice chunks of yardage on the ground. 

Chicago has two powerful backs in Matt Forte and Michael Bush. They carried the rock 28 total times and combined for 122 yards and three scores in Week 1. 

Think they'll be prominently featured tonight? 

I do. 

Maybe Cutler should have wished the Packers "good luck" in their run-stopping efforts.