Aaron Rodgers

Can Rodgers finally master the Chicago defense?

Monty: Look, the Green Bay Packers are clearly better than the Chicago Bears, but history tells us they doesn’t necessarily mean much in this rivalry.

In the 80s, an era in Packers history we’d love to forget, the Bears were easily better than the Packers, but Green Bay always played Chicago tough, even pulling out an occasional victory. In the first meeting between the teams last season, the Packers outplayed the Bears, but they also committed a team-record number of penalties and essentially beat themselves.

The point is, this is the NFL’s biggest rivalry and the better team doesn’t always win.

The Bears want to avenge their NFC Championship game loss. They also want to avoid falling two games behind the Packers and the Detroit Lions, who will share the NFC North lead at 3-0 if both teams win on Sunday.

Chicago has flaws — the same flaws they had last season and the season before, in fact — shitty offensive line, a joke of a receiving corp, and a questionable secondary. The Packers can certainly exploit those flaws, and to a certain extent, I expect them too.

Chicago’s offensive line will probably make the Packers look like they have a solid pass rush, which, without injured defensive end Mike Neal doesn’t seem to be the case.

With cornerback Tramon Williams back in the lineup, the Bears’ receivers aren’t going to have a lot of opportunities.

Still, the Bears can exploit some of the Packers weaknesses if offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s ego doesn’t tell him he’s coaching the St. Louis Rams’ greatest show on turf.

The Packers had plenty of trouble containing running back Matt Forte last season. Although he didn’t do a lot of damage on the ground, he caught plenty of swing passes that led to big gains. That type of game plan is tailor-made for beating the Packers, who, in case you haven’t noticed, haven’t been tackling particularly well so far this season.

Green Bay has also had trouble containing return man Devin Hester. He’s one of the best in the league, maybe ever, and the Packers special teams units are a work in progress to the say the least.

The X factor in this game is Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers hasn’t performed up to his usual standards against the Bears, even though their secondary isn’t much to talk about.

If Rodgers can stop that trend, the Packers win. Chicago’s defense as a whole is no joke and even with Rodgers’ brilliance they seem to have his number.

If you can call a week three game a big game, this is definitely the biggest of the weekend. There’s too much on the line for Chicago and the Packers early-season sloppiness is about to catch up to them.

Bears 23, Packers 17

Sarah: It’s clear the Bears are looking for revenge against the Packers this weekend, hoping to avenge two late-season wins by Green Bay that put the Packers in the playoffs and, three weeks later, the Super Bowl.

And they may very well get it if the Packers don’t bring their A game Sunday.

NFC North games are always unpredictable, and Chicago had moderate success containing Aaron Rodgers last season, holding the Packers to 21 points or less in their three matchups. Lovie Smith also makes it a priority for his team to beat Green Bay each season, and he’s been somewhat successful in recent years.

Both teams are coming into the game banged up on defense, but the Packers should have the edge on the Bears’ pathetic wide receivers and Chicago’s equally pathetic offensive line. Jay Cutler took a pounding last week against the New Orleans Saints and the Packers are BETTER than said Saints so, you get the idea.

Green Bay may have given up 400-plus yards passing the past two weeks, but that won’t happen against the Bears. They just don’t have the offense for it.

Rodgers will have to be more patient and sustain longer drives to score because Chicago just doesn’t give up many big plays, especially against the Packers. As usual, special teams will need to improve on its performances in recent weeks and keep Devin Hester from the end zone, but Green Bay should be able to eek out a victory this weekend and remain unbeaten.

Packers 24, Bears 21

Shawn: The Bears have all the intangible advantages this week. They’re at home. A loss knocks them down to 1-2, well behind the Packers and Lions in the division race. They have the revenge factor going, due to their crushing loss on this same field in the NFC Championship game.

The Packers, meanwhile, merely have the same record they did last year after three games if they lose, and they get a home game against Chicago later on to make it up.

However, the Packers are still the better team.

The Bears need to block for Jay Cutler, contain Clay Matthews, and probably most of all, they need to score touchdowns when they get into the red zone. Defensively, the Bears look to play similar to the way the Panthers did against Green Bay last week, while doing a better job against the run.

The key is Aaron Rodgers. If he plays like he did during the latter two games against Chicago last year, or like he did against the Panthers last week, then the Bears have a good shot. If he plays the way he’s capable of, they’re sunk.

The Bears kick one too many field goals to pull it off and Rodgers rebounds from last week.

Packers 27, Bears 20

Eric: The Bears are coming into this week’s game with the Packers at 1-1 and looking to prove they should have been the ones hoisting the Lombardi Trophy last year.

Green Bay had a scare last week in Carolina but, as champions do, pulled out the victory.

Green Bay will have all of their offensive weapons and should be able to put points on the board. Oh, wait, this is a Bears game and the Packers always seem to struggle offensively against them. Julius Peppers and company will be looking to abuse the young offensive line and get to Rodgers. The Packers will need to get their ground game going to slow them down and beat them up.

The Packers receivers shouldn’t have any issues with the Bears defensive backs and should have solid numbers as long as Rodgers gets them the ball.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers will start life after Nick Collins, who was injured last week and is out for the year. Chicago receiver Earl Bennett is out of Sunday’s game and Johnny Knox, Devin Hester and Roy Williams are average pass catchers at best. The one person Packers should fear is running back Matt Forte. He’s a threat running and receiving and the Packers will need to keep a spy on him.

There has been a lot of talk about the Bears offensive line this week. They’re a terrible unit to begin with and with starting tackle Gabe Carimi out they’re even worse. Dom Capers will be bringing heat.

If the Packers can get to Cutler and force his throws and they should get some turnovers allowing them to run away with the game.

When the Packers and Bears meet the games are typically close and this week may not be any different. I think the Packers will want to prove a point on this particular Sunday, though.

Packers 31, Bears 17

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