Game Preview: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Game Preview: Packers at Bears

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FOX Chicago Sports' Tom Waddle previews Sunday's matchup between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

Offense

Same issues, different Sunday. Offensively, this Bears group is, well, offensive. Over the last five weeks, Mike Tice's guys are averaging 12 points per game. Jay Cutler is trying to shake off another beat down and Matt Forte is still looking for the first open running lane of the season. The game plan these days: Jay, run around for awhile, wait for Brandon Marshall to shake free, and throw it at him and hope for the best.

The Packers aren't having their most explosive season either. Aaron Rodgers has a gaudy 29-8 touchdown to interception ratio, but the Pack is averaging just 25 points per game. While they have suffered through several injuries, Randall Cobb has stepped up and become their leading receiver. Mike McCarthy is now running the ball much more trying to protect his quarterback behind a dreadful offensive line.

This ones a no brainer. The Packers get the edge on offense.

Defense

After a generous 2011, the Packer defense has made strides. They're allowing just 22 points per game, ranking in the top half of the league. They've found a way to get by without their top two players over the last month, but may have Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson back in the huddle Sunday. Coordinator Dom Capers consistently dials up the right plan to take advantage of their Bears issues up front. As for Rod Marinelli's guys, they showed a lot of backbone last week after being gutted on the Minnesota Vikings opening drive. Through 13 weeks, the Bears still possess the leagues third ranked scoring defense, but the consistent pressure and multiple takeaways have disappeared. As I suggested last week, Sunday would be a good time to see a dominant effort from Julius Peppers.

The Bears get the edge on defense.

Special Teams

With the struggles on offense, the loss of Robbie Gold is significant. Olindo Mare has had an inconsistent career but does have 350 field goals on his resume. This year has been a disaster for Mason Crosby, but Randall Cobb has given the Pack a lift in the return game.

Special teams is a draw.

Intangibles

Sunday is a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions. Our Bears have dropped four of their last five while the Packers have won seven of eight. If the Pack makes it eight of nine, they will clinch the North and further damage the Bears wild card chances. If there ever was a time to face the Packers at home, this is it. Despite their recent success, they've been banged up and less than dominant.

Like the Bears, their offensive line is a disaster and Aaron Rodgers has been vulnerable in the pocket. It may not matter as the Bears have endured their own injuries, physical and mental. The body language has changed and you get the sense they are consistently expecting the worst. You have to score to hang with the Pack and Jay to Brandon is the only thing working. With a banged up Cutler, I'm not sure that's gonna work either. Hate to say it...

Prediction

Packers 27, Bears 17

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