Sunday, December 13, 2009

Packers - Bears Preview

In honor of Chicago's very own Al Bundy, we will begin this post by stating that this is something like the bajillionith meeting between the two teams in the NFL's oldest rivalry, the Packers and Da Bearz. And while Chicago's head coach is perhaps on the chopping block at the end of this season, one feather in his cap has been his 7-4 record against the Pack since being named coach. That record will get a bit closer to .500 today.

Da Bearz best defensive performance of this season came in the first game against the Packers. Which they still lost. Since then, it's been a steady downhill slide. Losing their defensive leader in that game for the season, LB Brian Urlacher, was the start of it. DT Tommy Harris has been battling a knee injury, as has been LB Lance Briggs. Both are expected to play today. On offense, Da Bearz somehow were about the only remaining team in the league who thought Orlando Pace could still be effective at left tackle. Ooops.

The supposed weapons Da Bearz pulled together on offense, primarily Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, Matt Forte and the second Mistake on the Lake, Jay Cutler, haven't clicked. As Jerry Seinfeld might say, "That's a shame."

Now, don't get me wrong. These guys are capable of making plays. Cutler is no doubt looking for some retribution after his abysmal start against the Pack in Game #1 where he threw 4 interceptions and had a passer rating nearly as low as todays' game time temperature. Expect him to try to go after CB Tramon Williams who, despite the penalty flag parade in Monday's game, has actually performed very well, as this article relates. If Cutler somehow isn't being pressured and is able to get into a rhythm he can definitely slice and dice a defense. But that's doubtful today.

It's also quite possible veteran center Olin Kreutz might have taken it a bit personally when Packers rookie NT B. J. Raji, who will start if Ryan Pickett is unable to go with his bad hamstring, said he wasn't too impressed by Kreutz' strength. As you might well imagine, this has been quite the fodder in Chicago. Perhaps not the best time for Mr. Raji to say such things. So let's see how all that plays out today.

Da Bearz' special teams are obviously superior to those of the Packers, at least in terms of execution. But that's about all Da Bearz have going for them.

The weather shouldn't be a factor today. It will actually be a rather balmy 35 degrees according to the forecast. So the Packers should be able to run and pass just as they have been doing all season. The Packers beat Da Bearz in just about every statistical category imaginable. But the game isn't played on paper (think Tampa Bay). The Pack has to show up and do what they are capable of doing. And there's nothing sweeter than beating Da Bearz up and down Lake Shore Drive.

The spread has the Pack favored by 4. Not surprisingly, I'm taking the Packers...and by more than 4. Packers 27 - Da Bearz 17.

Go Pack Go!!!

By the way, just on a personal note, my good friend Billy Da Bearz Fan, did generously invite me to go to this game today, for which I thanked him. I also had to respectfully decline his invitation. I just hate to see a grown man cry. Especially for a couple hours on the drive home. Even more so since he'd be driving.