Position-by-Position Breakdown for Bears vs. Packers
|Saturday, October 16, 2021, 9:49 AM- -|
The Green Bay Packers come into Chicago with their 4-1 record to take on the 3-2 Bears. The Packers have won four straight after an opening week loss to the Saints, and the Bears have won their last two. Let's dive into each position group and see where Chicago may have an advantage.
Justin Fields continues to make strides just three starts into his career. He looks more comfortable, and the gameplan seems to be using him much better than they did in his first start in Cleveland. The Bears still have not fully unleashed Fields, but week by week, they are getting him more involved. The Packers still have Aaron Rodgers at the helm, but lucky for us Bears fans, this is likely the last time that he will play at Soldier Field as a Packer. Rodgers may not be playing as well as he did in his MVP season last year, but he is still playing great and one of the best QBs in the league.
David Montgomery remains out, and now Damien Williams will be too after being placed on the Covid-19 reserve list. Khalil Herbert will to man the backfield, and he ran the ball a lot and very effectively last week in Oakland. Herbert ended up getting more carries (18) than Williams (16) last week and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. I expect the Bears to want to try and continue this run-first mentality this week, but being this thin at RB will likely mean they need to unleash Fields even more. The Packers have one of the best all-around backs in the league with Aaron Jones. He is just as much a receiving threat as he is a runner and is keen on making big plays every week. Backup AJ Dillon is a physical freak as more of a power back and has been getting more action, but Jones is the bigger threat.
Davante Adams may be the best receiver in the league and is by far Rodgers' favorite target. He is the best route runner in the league, and the scramble drill between him and his QB when he breaks away from the pocket is nearly unstoppable. Every time I watch the Packers, I wonder why defenses do not double Adams on every play and have Rodgers throw to someone else because they are very thin at the position outside of him. Randall Cobb is back in his second stint with Green Bay but is nowhere near the player he used to be. The Bears have a deeper wide receiving core, with Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney leading the way. The issue is that the Bears are not using their wideouts with how much they are running the ball. Last week Fields only had 12 completions for the game, and eight went to wide receivers. Taking an aggregate score, the Bears have the advantage here, but the Packers still have the best player of either team at the position.
Jesper Horsted caught Justin Fields' first career touchdown pass, and it was also the first touchdown caught by a tight end all year for the Bears. Jimmy Graham appears to no longer be a factor, and Cole Kmet is not the player we hoped. I still would like Kmet to be featured more than he is, but maybe there is a reason he is not involved. Green Bay has Robert Tonyan and veteran Marcedes Lewis at tight end. Tonyan has not produced as he did in a breakout 2020 campaign, only having nine catches through the first five games. Even with the lack of production, the tight ends are still better than what the Bears have right now.
The Bears gave up two sacks last week against the Raiders in limited dropbacks, but they ran the ball well. Given the lack of talent at the offensive line, the Bears have done very well the past two weeks. This will need to continue to happen if the Bears hope to move the ball offensively. The Packers are still without their best lineman at LT in David Bakhtiari after his torn ACL from 2020. They also lost one of the best centers in the league in free agency coming into this year, but their line has done pretty well thus far. There has been more pressure than Rodgers is used to getting, so hopefully, the Bears can do the same.
Chicago's defense continues to play very well and win the football games. Even with Akiem Hicks suited up, the defensive line played well. With Hicks expected to be available this week, he will lead the way for this unit alongside Eddie Goldman, Bilal Nichols, and Mario Edwards Jr. The Packers defensive line is headlined by Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark. They are both productive, but the Bears have the advantage here.
The Packers have been in search of help at linebacker with pro bowler Za'Darius Smith still in IR. They signed former pro-bowler Jaylen Smith after being cut from the Dallas Cowboys. Their best linebacker thus far has been a surprisingly good start from De'Vondre Campbell. The Bears linebacking core has been great all year and was again last week. Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn should be able to pressure Rodgers this week, and Roquan Smith is very effective in both the run and pass game.
The Chicago secondary played well again last week, not letting up the big plays and forcing a turnover from Derek Carr. Do not expect Aaron Rodgers to turn the ball over, but if they can limit the big plays, that will hinder the Green Bay offense. I expect Jaylon Johnson to be following Davante Adams all game, but they should give him help and double the star wide receiver all game. The Packers lost their best defensive player in CB Jaire Alexander to IR. This is a huge loss, as the second CB is rookie Eric Stokes, moving up Kevin King to the starting role. The Bears' offense should attack the corners early in often.
Kicker Cairo Santos is still perfect on the year for the Bears. Packers kicker is coming off a unique week in which he missed three FGs and an extra point but also hit the game-winner in OT against Cincinnati. Santos has been as reliable as you can be since joining the Bears, and for that, Chicago gets the advantage.