Key Matchups: Week 15- Bear Week

The Bears come into their week 15 matchup against the Packers playing their best football of the season.  Their offense and defense are firing on all cylinders and they are currently riding a three game winning streak.  Everyone laughed when Bears reporters suggested that they could "run the table" just like the Packers did at 4-6.  Although they have quite the schedule moving forward, they are 7-6 and have certainly given themselves a chance to win this next game as the Packers are not playing their best football.

Key Matchups:

1. The Packers Tight Ends vs. The Bears Line Backers:

With second year sensation Roquan Smith out for the remainder of the season, I will be looking for Rodgers to target Jimmy Graham and Big Bob Tonyan a lot to exploit that massive hole in the Bears defense.  Now, the Bears could counter by playing versatile all-pro DE/LB Khalil Mack a lot in the middle but that would lessen their pass rush and give Rodgers time to survey the field.  

2. Aaron Jones vs. The Middle of the Field:

With the Packers receiving core limited, I expect Jones will be getting 25 touches on Sunday.  Jones will have to prove that he can keep the Bears stout front seven honest by getting chunks of yards early.  The perfect formula for Jones would be 18 carries and 7 receptions as it would open up opportunities for Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and the tight ends.  

3. Kenny Clark vs. Cody Whitehair:

The key to the Packers getting even more pressure on the quarterback over the last couple weeks has been the emergence of Kenny Clark.  Clark is finally healthy and has been able to consistently and efficiently plunge the A-gap leading to pressures and sacks for himself as well as the Smith Bros.  The key to seeing "Same ole Mitch" is to get through that A-gap with Kenny and trap him on the outside with Preston and Z.  If this tandem can show up big, I think we'll see Mitchell Trubisky get happy feat and throw some poor passes.  

4. Mike Pettine vs. Matt Nagy:

The key to Trubisky's resurgence has been reestablishing a balanced attack.  Nagy has tried to get back tto the way of the exotic runs and receiving formations with the RPO.  Pettine will have to keep Nagy honest by designing some uniquely exotic blitzes, especially with his corners and safeties.

Prediction:

I have a funny feeling that the Bears keep rolling with their resurgent office and expose the holes in the Packers game right now.  I think this will be an eye opening 28-20 loss for the Packers, which will put them in desperation mode next Monday Night in Minnesota.

*Apologies for the brevity of the piece, I am on the injury report with the flu.   

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David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Comments (35)

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Bearmeat's picture

December 14, 2019 at 11:24 am

If you keep Mitch in the pocket, you beat the Bears. End of story. Just make him throw from the pocket and read the field. He'll throw the ball right at you several times a game.

I'm not saying the Packers can't lose this game. They certainly aren't a great team in their own right. But They're better than the Bears.

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Cubbygold's picture

December 14, 2019 at 02:09 pm

Yup, statistically mitch is a top 10 qb when outside the pocket the last two years. Keep him there and force him to make tough decisions

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4zone's picture

December 15, 2019 at 07:49 am

The keys today Bearmeat are Bahk and Co. If they come out with focus and attitude, eliminate the STUPID mistakes and keep AR lint free, our O can rock he ouse down If not there won't be enough Zout on earth to clean AR's uni.

On the flip wide, its all in how e control, or don't, the middle of the field.

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CAG123's picture

December 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Wait...what?! So the Bears will suddenly produce 28 points out of no where? I'm not buying into any Bears hype as far as ol Mitch is concerned this is still the same team that got tested by David Blough... The only reason anything they've done the last few weeks of this season is even remotely impressive is because they were so trash offensively and they did it against the Giants, Lions, and Cowboys. Say what you want about the Packers being inconsistent they are not giving up 28 points to a bad.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

December 14, 2019 at 12:38 pm

You anticipate a loss? I fully expect to see a Packers' blowout with the Packers dominating all aspects of the game. The only part of the match which will be close will be the special teams, but I'll take the Packers kicker and punter by a wide margin. I look for a Packers win 31-10. After all, the Bears still suck.

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Philarod's picture

December 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm

It's not an unreasonable prediction, but I think that the Pack will prevail, if somewhat narrowly. Each one of the matchups identified are big question marks. Can the Packers' quite mediocre TEs exploit that Bears weakness? If they take Jones away (to a great extent), who will step up? Can we scheme Lazard or MVS open downfield, and will the O-line hold, and Rodgers be, well, vintage Rodgers? Can the D keep TRu in the pocket, and the secondary take advantage of his errant throws?

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DavidMichalski's picture

December 14, 2019 at 01:05 pm

I hope you all are right, I just feel they schemed up the Cowboys well, and are playing good football. The Lions are always tough on Thanksgiving. To me, it’s as simple as they are playing better and have more options to go to if we take one away.

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CAG123's picture

December 14, 2019 at 02:38 pm

What winning team hasn't schemed the Cowboys well?

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DavidMichalski's picture

December 14, 2019 at 03:15 pm

Yea and that falls on coaching bc Dallas has talent.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 15, 2019 at 09:47 am

Yes. And I pray for Jerry Jones continued health...///

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Gort's picture

December 14, 2019 at 03:27 pm

They also have had extra time to rest and scheme.
Its got me worried too, but hope the Pack comes ready to play.
Rest and drink plenty of water.
Ice cubes in your Jack Daniels counts as water.

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DavidMichalski's picture

December 14, 2019 at 05:18 pm

That’s the Green Bay r&r, ice cubes and Jack kill the influenza. Gotta love it Go Pack Go!

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Jonathan Spader's picture

December 14, 2019 at 09:01 pm

Stafford is tough in Thanksgiving, not a 3rd string QB. Packers beat the Giants, Cowboys and.... THE BEARS. DId you already forget the 1st game of the season. That was with Smith in the middle of the field.

I still see a close game not a blowout but I give the edge to the Packers. Rodgers > Turdbisket, Aaron Jones/Jamal Williams > Montgomery/Cohen, Adams > Robinson. Packers have better weapons and a better OL.

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cheesehead1's picture

December 14, 2019 at 01:59 pm

Protect Rodgers. Against good defenses we’ve struggled with sacks.

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dobber's picture

December 14, 2019 at 02:50 pm

This is the key. Teams with good front-7s have been able to run right over the Packers OL, and, so far, the Packers have struggled to adjust to it. These next two games potentially fall into this category.

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Lare's picture

December 14, 2019 at 03:29 pm

It would help if they didn't have to sustain their pass blocks on every play for 7-10 seconds while Rodgers holds the ball.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 14, 2019 at 07:02 pm

In those games, the Packers got away from their run first offense, and paid the price. MLF had enough and went to a heavy run package (3 TE). This O line is far better than the fans give them credit for, if they play to their strengths in run blocking. In both the Chargers and 49ers game they let the defensive front 7 dictate the action and paid for it. We all know the problem is Rodgers, and his slinging the ball every chance he gets. MLF has quietly put the clamps to some of that with his new offensive formations. If the Packers are able to run their inside zone game (along with the wham blocking they do) they will give Rodgers more than enough time in play action to do what he does so well. But that's on Rodgers, not any one else. Ans as we all saw last week, Rodgers gets antsy and blows well designed plays looking for the big strike... (While the Packers offensive line still runs outside zone blocking, like most NFL teams they use a combo of blocking techniques as the season grinds on. One can see OZB in the quick draws and short screens this team runs for example. But since the third game, this veteran O line has returned to more inside zone and more 'wham' blocking to get contact with whatever D lineman far early in the play than what they had been doing early in season. Plays to the strengths and power of both Jenkins and Turner.)

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Cubbygold's picture

December 14, 2019 at 02:17 pm

Hicks return is huge for the bears. If it wasn't for both Bears ILB injuries, id be real worried about GBs offense. Still, a key matchup is GBs interior OL vs. the bears big boys up front

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 14, 2019 at 05:15 pm

Hicks is not 100% with his arm. Robertson-Harris is a guy they have to stone on his stunting. Floyd and Mack bring outside to inside pressure. Double Mack all day, give him zero openings and carry him into the screen game outside.
Blast the middle. LIndsley has to show up and Turner has to pay attention to his gap.

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Archie's picture

December 14, 2019 at 02:38 pm

Packers have had a hex over bares but latter have been playing better of late and seems to like having its back to the wall. If Rodgers goes off, yes we win, otherwise I don't think so. Probability of Rodgers going off = ~20%.

Next week at Vikes on MNF looks even tougher.

Could take 11 wins to get in.

Showdown at Motown?!

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stockholder's picture

December 14, 2019 at 07:00 pm

Cody Whitehair and Clarke . Now thats an interesting matchup. . TT traded up for Spriggs. Whitehair wasn't good enough for him. Whitehair was considered the best Guard in the draft. Clark should win the exchanges!

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NickPerry's picture

December 15, 2019 at 03:25 am

Yup...Never understood that one. It was rumored the Bears wanted Spriggs so Thompson traded up to get in front of them. This was classic Thompson the last 3 years as GM.

To bad Thompson wouldn't follow a few trends of his own draft history. When he wanted to draft a WR then draft him in the 2nd round. IF he wanted to draft an O-Lineman then draft him in the 4th.

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Swisch's picture

December 14, 2019 at 03:48 pm

* Let's have Rodgers roll out of the pocket on occasion. Quick pass; or short run out of bounds; or throw the ball away.
* Add a few screen passes and jet sweeps.
* Maybe 20 touches for Jones, with Williams and Vitale getting the rest for the backfield.
* Let's give Ryan Grant a couple of targets in the slot.
* At least one pass deep to MVS in the first half.
* As well as mixing it up on offense, mix it up on defense. Perhaps the biggest problem of late with the Packers D has been predictability. It seems success in the NFL requires at least some variety on both sides of the ball.
* On defense, crowd the middle at times to stop the run; and make the Bears prove they can run it to the outside.
* Allow Alexander and King to cover aggressively at times.
* Try Gary in the middle once or twice, and maybe Summers.
* Don't exhaust Kenny Clark. Keep him fresh for the fourth quarter, and a long career.
* Only three games left to play football in the regular season, our last one at home, and in our 200th game against the Unbearables. Get a good night of sleep, and play some hard, smart, fun football.

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uuuuu5uu's picture

December 14, 2019 at 04:18 pm

Are we just gonna glaze over the fact that he wrote feat instead of feet and office instead of offense? I mean the flu sucks but this is some pretty poor stuff

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Lare's picture

December 14, 2019 at 06:41 pm

Actually it's pretty normal. I was an editor for a magazine and our rule was every article was proofed by three different people before it went to press and we still missed stuff. In a world of spellcheckers it's amazing what gets changed as its being typed.

As a wise man once said "Don't sweat the small stuff". These guys (and gals) volunteer their time & abilities to research and write articles for us to enjoy. If typos bother you, you can probably be less stressed by paying for content elsewhere.

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Swisch's picture

December 14, 2019 at 05:04 pm

No need to take office, a couple of mistakes are just another day at the offense.
We strive for perfection, though it's an impossible feet, in order to achieve excellence.
If you get knocked down as a sportswriter, rest a spell and then get back into the game.

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DavidMichalski's picture

December 14, 2019 at 05:24 pm

Apologies, wasn’t seeing that in my state this morning. As Lare was saying grammarly and spell checks don’t pick up incorrect word usage. Now that I apologized, you can kiss my ass and piss off.

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Gort's picture

December 14, 2019 at 05:25 pm

You get what you pay for, but I would cut him some slack.
No harm = no fowl.
So sayeth a "Chicken Little"!

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4zone's picture

December 15, 2019 at 07:53 am

Sometimes spellchecker worse than flu.

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porupack's picture

December 14, 2019 at 04:22 pm

GB offense needs to have up tempo, and quick passes for first 20 minutes, just survive and tire out the bears rush attack, use screens and a few gimmick plays to be sure to sustain long drives. By mid 2nd Q, they can start to go deeper downfield as the rush will be a half second slower.

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Swisch's picture

December 14, 2019 at 05:08 pm

Excellent point, porupack.
Avoid the early calamity, as in the 49ers game, by being smarter than the average Bear.

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Gort's picture

December 14, 2019 at 05:57 pm

Failure to do so would be a
Boo-Boo!

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Boneman's picture

December 15, 2019 at 07:33 am

The brain flu sucks. Makes you predict crazy things like the Bears scoring 28 at Lambeau. I forgive you, get well soon.

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dobber's picture

December 15, 2019 at 09:03 am

Bears offense has hit 28 points once all season...against Dallas last week.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 16, 2019 at 12:21 pm

ROFL (seriously) LMAO.
He predicts the bears in a kind of laugher game.
Is completely wrong on his first keys to the game.

Won't answer it, can't explain it.

Yet people are poking fun at spelling

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