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Coming into the 2010 season, neither the Packers nor the Bears were picked as the favorite to win the NFC North, yet here they are playing in the game that many people had the Minnesota Vikings penciled into. It's a battle of division rivals for the NFC's Super Bowl representative, and it should be a great game to watch.
Still, those of you who are looking for an offensive explosion after last weeks combined 83 points between these two teams may be in for a surprise. The Bears and Packers played twice in the regular season, as they do every year, and put up a total of 50 points in both games.
This game is going to come down to which defense gets the most pressure on the opposing QB while stopping the run game. The Packers are very much one dimensional on offense against a team with a championship caliber defense like the Chicago Bears.
The Bears are ranked second against the run this season, which doesn't bode well for the Packers who are relying on rookie running back James Starks to carry the load in the running game. Starks is coming off a 25 carry, 66 yard performance against the Atlanta Falcons and will be making only his third start this season. If he can't muster up a better performance this week, it will allow Julius Peppers to pin his ears back and come off the edge gunning for Rodgers all day, making this a slugfest.
As for the Bears, they go as Jay Cutler and Matt Forte go. In the previous two games between these two, Forte was a bit of a non-factor in the run game. Look for the Bears to try to get him involved in some screen plays and even line him up in the slot on a few plays. This will bean attempt to alleviate some of the pressure coming at Cutler.
Cutler will have to play mistake free football, or at least close to it, as Clay Matthews Jr. will be pinning his ears back coming after Cutler more than a few times. This one is going to come down to the pressure, and I give the edge to the Bears in that department.
Because of this, I give the Bears the nod and my pick for NFC Champions.
Bears 20, Packers 17