The Green Bay Packers will try and avoid rare consecutive losses at Lambeau Field when they square-off with longtime divisional foe Chicago Bears in a primetime match-up on Thursday night. This latest edition of the NFL’s longest-running rivalry figures to play a big role in determining this year’s NFC North champion.
Despite being six-point home favorites in their opener, the Packers never managed a lead against the 49ers and their late rally came up short in the 30-22 loss. While the highly-touted 49ers defense lived up to the hype by containing Aaron Rodgers and company, the Green Bay ‘D,’ which ranked 19th in the NFL last year, continued its uneven performance despite personnel and coaching changes made to the unit this offseason. The 49ers racked up 377 total yards against the Packers with 186 of those coming on the ground. That should prove worrisome to Packers’ supporters this week after the Bears showed to have a strong running game, led by Matt Forte and complemented by newly-acquired Michael Bush, in their win 41-21 win against the Colts.
On a positive note for the Packers, second-year wide receiver Randall Cobb gave the look of a potential star vs. the 49ers. The University of Kentucky speedster caught nine balls for 77 yards and added a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that kick-started the Packers late rally, which ultimately fell short.
Against a Bears team that had no problems moving the ball in Week 1, it will likely be up to Rodgers, Cobb and company to turn the game into a high-scoring track meet for any chance of victory.
Last year, it was the Packers who swept the two match-ups against their bitter division rivals en route to the NFC North Title, winning 35-21 at Lambeau Field and 27-17 at Lambeau. We’re predicting the Bears turn the tables this week and snap the streak in our NFL picks. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, now reunited with former Broncos teammate Jay Cutler, looked as good as ever in his first game as a Bear. The balanced attack displayed by Chicago in Week 1 will prove too much for the Packers defense to handle and the offense to overcome.