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Bears Defense Presents Challenge For Packers

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Bears Defense Presents Challenge For Packers

While the Green Bay Packers finished no. 2 in the NFL in scoring defense allowing only 15.0 points per game, their opponent in the NFC Championship game on Sunday wasn't far off the mark.

The Chicago Bears finished ranked no. 4 in the NFL allowing 17.9 points per game. Perhaps even more impressive, they held Green Bay below that average in each of their two regular season meetings this season.

The Bears held the Packers to 17 points in a Week 3 win at Soldier Field and then limited them to only 10 points in the Week 17 loss at Lambeau. Not bad considering the Packers scored an average of 24.3 points per game.

"I think the statistics speaks for themselves," said head coach Mike McCarthy on Monday. "It's a system that's been in place there for quite some time, I know since before I even arrived here. So they have better players, they have a very good understanding of their scheme."

The Bears definitely have some star power on the defensive side of the football. Linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs were both voted to the Pro Bowl this season.

But as far as Scott Wells and the rest of the Packers offensive line is concerned, they're focused on the players lined up directly across the line of scrimmage from them.

"Their starting four, they're outstanding up front," said Wells. "Anthony Adams I think is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league. If you watch film, he's always around the pile.

"He does an excellent job playing with low pads, creating penetration, getting penetration, so he's one player that I have to be familiar with, because he lines up over the center most of the time."

The rest of the Packers offensive line will have their hands full as well. For Chad Clifton, he's coming off one of his best performances of the season in the Jan. 2 win over the Bears when he effectively neutralized star defensive end Julius Peppers.

For rookie right tackle Bryan Bulaga, he looks to bounce back from the regular season finale when he was whistled for four penalties while frequently lined up face to face with defensive end Israel Idonije.

"The other guy, Idonije, does an excellent job on that side," said Wells. "He kind of gets overlooked because of Peppers and what he brings to that package.

"Really their front four I think outstanding defensive line, well- coached. Tommie Harris is playing well here towards the end of the season. They do a great job holding their gaps and playing their scheme."

Wide receiver Greg Jennings categorizes the Bears as the fastest defense he's faced this season.

"I would have to say yes," said Jennings. "They do a great job of flowing to the ball. Obviously a lot of those guys, veteran guys, savvy guys. So they know what it takes to get wins, and that's why they're in the position they're in as well. Obviously what they bring to the table defensively is pretty much the ground and the foundation of their team."

While not as highly regarded as their front seven counterparts, Jennings and the Packers wide receivers know all too well how dangerous the Bears secondary can be.

In Week 17 Bears cornerback Charles Tillman deftly made a diving interception on a Aaron Rodgers pass intended for Jennings. Earlier in the game, Donald Driver had a fumble caused by nickel cornerback D.J. Moore.

The defensive-minded, Lovie Smith-coached Bears are no slouches. Despite scoring a franchise playoff record 48 points on the road against the no. 1 seeded Atlanta Falcons a week ago, the Packers offense probably can't afford to overlook almost any facet of the Chicago defense.

Especially in a game as meaningful as this one in which the winner will move on to play for football's ultimate prize.

"They're good football players across the board defensively," said McCarthy. "They all tackle very well, they're very fundamentally sound. They did a great job of recognizing your concepts. So they're a challenge, and it will be a big challenge Sunday."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersThad's picture

I think one of the best things working in the Packers favor for this game is that McCarthy has 7 whole days to prepare for the game. Playing on Saturday worked out well for the Packers! McCarthy is going to pour over tape of the Bears defense and come up with a game plan to control the time of possession and put points up on the board!

CALIPACKFAN's picture

The bears defense is better than the falcons but I still see Aaron Rodgers having a big game against the bears. Everyone says the game will be close but I think it will be a blowout.

PackersRS's picture

IMHO the Bears' D is the worst possible matchup for our offense. As long as we're not able to run the ball.

The cover 2 gives Rodgers fits. It just does. I mean, he's still really, really good, but he's not the great Rodgers against it.

Unless he can use play action.

I think this is the key on offense. I'm gonna bang the same drum again in here, but if they're able to keep 2 safeties 20 yards deep, and still stop the run, our offense is gonna struggle. Their front 4 is one of the best in the NFL, and when they can only concentrate on the pass, it's incredibly hard.

Now, if Starks runs like he did against ATL (he doesn't need a Philadelphia like performance, we just need the running game to be respected) and Rodgers is able to playaction, their pass rush won't be as fierce. Their LBs will bite on the run. Their safeties will come close to the LOS.

That will allow more big plays, it will negate the whole principle of their D, and then the game will be easy, dare I say.

jack in jersey city's picture

yeah, people are forgetting that starks didn't play in the first matchup and only had 5 attempts in the week 17 game (in which he averaged 4 yards a carry). just having the threat of a running game opens our offense up. they have to respect the run at least a little now and have to game plan for starks.

Bearmeat's picture

Absolutely, 100% agree PackersRS - It's gonna take 1 or 2 runs for 1st downs in the opening quarter. If we do that, the game will be won - then the LB's will have to honor the run, which will open up the square ins, TE seams, etc..

And the safeties will have to move 10 yards closer to the LOS... then it's only a matter of time until the playaction/kill shot!
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However, if we can't get anything going with Starks, then their front 4 will be able to tee of on AR, and we'll be in trouble (again) on O. Then it becomes a D/ST battle and I don't like our chances in that as much because of those pesky ST..

cow42's picture

Funny how there aren't any articles being written (anywhere) about how challenging it's going to be for the bares to score.

As hard as it might be for the Pack to move the ball, I think it might be even harder for the bares.

packsmack25's picture

Exactly! Chicago scored a whopping ONE offensive TD in two games against Green Bay this year. Where is that story?

jack in jersey city's picture

yes! plus they didn't really win the 1st game- we lost it.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Packer Report has a story like that. And the reason you haven't seen many like it is because coaches and players have only been available to the media for one day since the Packers learned their opponent would be the Bears. No quotes, no stories. Patience, it's only Tuesday.

packsmack25's picture

I just keep seeing stories from the national media about how Rodgers struggles against the Bears, how the Bears defense is tough, so on and so forth, but I haven't seen any stories about how absolutely horrendous Cutler is against the Packers or how the Packers defense has basically shut down everyone since the first Vikings game....

Bearmeat's picture

"It's only Tuesday" I know! That's the part that sucks. Call me an addict if you want to (I think anyone on CHTV is an addict at any rate - so anyone who would call me that would be a total hypocrite anyway..) ;)
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I WANT SUNDAY TO BE HERE NOW! I can't sleep well at night. I can't focus at work. My wife is sick of me constantly talk about "the game".... it sucks...
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If we win the next two games, we'll have bragging rights over da Burrs for DECADES! Come on guys! JUST TWO MORE!!!

Bearmeat's picture

You know what really tweaks me? The Bares fans who use the "well, we didn't show our full playbook in wk 17 on offense" excuse as to why GB's D held them to only 3 points.
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Why not just state that GB's D is GOOD? Oh, that's right, it's because Bares fans choose to ignore facts and logic when it's slapping them in the face!
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FACT: Slow down Forte (you are not going to stop him dead) and you severely limit the Bares offensive ability. Their WR's suck. Olsen is ok, but Martz doesn't use the TE well. And Cutler is a moron at any rate...

ZeroTolerance's picture

We win big Sunday. The question who rules the NFC will be answered. NYG, CHI (2), PHL (2), ATL.

Rodgers's picture

pack by 11

Norman's picture

I would love nothing more than a relaxing second half, with the game well in hand. I don't expect that though, but it would do my ever-elevated (during football season) stress level good. If the D doesn't let Cutler have a coming out party (the Seattle game doesn't count; I could have thrown for 200 yards against them), I don't see any reason why we don't win by more than 7 points, still coming down to late in the 4th quarter though. I have a ton of confidence in our D, and given how last season went, what with Rothlisberger throwing for 500 yards, Warner throwing 5 TD's, etc., I'd say Dom has done a hell of a job in just his second year with the guys in this system. And of course TT with the players to plug in, what a tremendous job he's done.

Mike Stern's picture

The Packers nred to avoid mistakes in this game. There is a smaller margin for error in bad weather for a pass-oriented team. That said, the packers will win by at least 11 points.

Doug in Sandpoint's picture

I predict each defense will perform average and the Pack will win by 2.9 points!

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

I look for Starks to be a big factor.The Bears have never faced Starks.So of everything the know abought the Pakers Starks is the biggest unknown.How and when they use him on a bad field can be the key.Also Jenkins is back ,he did'nt play in the last game.

BigbyATTACK's picture

I hope you're right, that Starks is a factor. I'm really crossing my fingers with how much our line helps him and Rodg out. They seem so hot and cold; lights out one day, beat like cake mix the next. I'm crossing my fingers they follow up a sub-par performance with a much grittier display. It's the Bears. Our line needs to make some holes and keep them off Rodgers back. He can't make those beautiful cutbacks on that surface like he did in the comfort of Atlanta's turf.

DONC's picture

look for the blocking from the fullbacks to be a key. they will be important to pick up the stray d-linemen as well as prtecting rodgers. they do a great job, pack wins

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