Bears versus Packers: A Passionate Preview

Before last Sunday’s NFL Game of the Week between the Packers and the 49ers, I joined fellow Packers fan Amanda Lawson and 49ers fan Jerod Morris for a fun round of passionate banter discussing the game.

Unfortunately, the preview turned out to be the most enjoyable aspect of the game as the 49ers ultimately won in Lambeau.

This week, the method will stay the same — previewing the upcoming Packers game by engaging in a round of banter with Amanda and a fan from the other side. But unlike last week, this week’s passionate preview won’t be a harbinger of a disappointing Packers loss. (That’s the goal anyway…)

So help me welcome in Bears fan and Jay Cutler lover Tyler Juranovich for an entertaining and informative discussion about tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup between the Packers and Bears.

packers-bears-fans

This Bears fan is living out Tyler Juranovich’s dream of taking a bite out of a cheesehead. (Image via Chicago Now)

CHRIS:

I know for a fact that Amanda Lawson and I despise the Chicago Bears, and Tyler Juranovich certainly won’t be buying Green Bay Packers stock any time soon.

The two teams face off tonight in prime time, so we needed to argue. Just some good old fashioned internet yelling. But you know, with coherent arguments and facts to support.

I’m not sure I know a more passionate Green Bay Packers fan than Amanda, so we’ll let her kick this off.

AMANDA:

I could not be more excited for the game tonight. Not because I love watching Packers play, but because I love watching them win.

Yes, win.

So I am sorry I am not sorry that the Bears will fall to the Packers at Lambeau on Thursday night. I have three reasons why:

Reason #1: Amanda will intimidate Jay Cutler by giving him a front row seat to the Gun Show.

1. We lost on Sunday.

The last time the Packers lost back-to-back at home was in 2008, Weeks 13 and 14. That was also Aaron Rodgers’s first year leading the Packers and the last time we didn’t make the playoffs.

What I am saying is that the odds of that happening are slim to none.

It’s not just the odds of us winning, but the fresh slap in the face that says, “Hey guys, you are going to have to work at this if you want to win.” 15-2 was great, but it wasn’t a Super Bowl ring.

I’m sure that last week the Packers were still disappointed in themselves for losing to the Giants in the playoffs. But that was seven months ago, and this harsh reality that we are not the only good team in league needed to be put right into our faces (or at least in the fans’ faces).

2. The Bears won on Sunday.

A win is a win no matter how you look at it. Andrew Luck played his little heart out. But the Bears aren’t going to 2-0.

3. Jermichael Finley and Cedric Benson.

For as hoarse as they made my voice thanks to angry yelling on Sunday, they better make it hoarse with celebration Thursday night.

As for Finley, I will forgive him. I think. Point is, he needs to prove himself, and every time he’s ever needed to do that (which is way more than I am happy to admit) he has come through. Plus, some of his best plays last year were made against the Bears (he had a total of four TDs against the Bears in 2011).

Cedric Benson doesn’t want to look bad against his former team regardless of whether or not he still has harsh feelings. The Packers will have a better opportunity to test their running game against the Bears than they did against the 49ers.

If the Packers have their way, they’ll make sure they take the win on Thursday night. (But you never know what the replacement refs will decide).

TYLER:

I, too, share Amanda’s excitement for tomorrow’s game, but my reason is I actually do like watching the new and improved Bears’ offense play. I can’t begin to express how awesome it is to see Chicago have a passing game without sacrificing the running game.

If you don’t think this Bears’ offense is one of the most balanced in the league, you’re wrong. (I am talking to you, Drew)

I know the Packers will most definitely have the initial advantage because it’s at Green Bay, but here are three reasons why the Bears will scrap out a win.

1. The backfield tandem

Not only do the Bears have one great running back in Matt Forte, but they now have another above average running back in Michael Bush. The 49ers ran all over Green Bay with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, and the same will happen this Thursday with Forte and Bush.

There’s no reason for it to not happen.

2. The Bears’ ability to stop the run

I don’t buy the notion that Cedric Benson comes back into Chicago with a vengeance. Benson has played really well the past seasons, but if the Bears defense does one thing well, it’s stopping the run game.

Rodgers, even without Greg Jennings, will always be a threat. Sometimes he’s literally unstoppable. You also can’t take for granted the fact the Packers want some redemption at home, so it’s even more crucial the Bears stop the Packers’ running game.

(You can tell, with the injury to Tillman and the performance last week against the much weaker Colts, I am not too confident in the Bears passing defense.)

The Bears are equally pumped up. Dropping a rival (and your biggest threat in the division) to an 0-2 record would be an amazing start for the Bears. That should be enough motivation to get around the Packers having home field advantage.

3. Two words. Jay Cutler

I’ve always had faith and patience in Cutler, and it finally paid off last week.

With receivers like Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett, and Alshon Jeffery, there’s no limit to how well Cutler can perform this year. I’ve always thought him to a good QB, but this season is the season for Cutler to convince all the haters and doubters.

Cutler’s already confident going into this game. Hell, he told the Packer’s DBs to “watch out.” Some dislike that. I love it. I want my team to be confident. Not overly confident, but confident nonetheless.

 

I will say that I don’t think the Packers weak performance in Week 1 is enough to write them off this season. That’s ridiculous. But if teams can keep the Packers down, who knows, maybe the Packers’ players will start doubting themselves.

It’s all or nothing this season for the Bears. I don’t think their defense can take much more aging, so that’s why they come out firing this game and upset the Packers in Green Bay.

AMANDA:

To win, the Packers need to make big plays on defense. Forced turnovers and interceptions will get the momentum rolling and make the Bears question themselves. The confidence that is built on defense will carry over to Aaron Rodgers and his lethal assortment of playmakers.

The Bears have actually been one of the teams in the NFL over the past year that has made the Packers defense look not-so-shitty (which is saying a lot), thanks in large part to Jay Cutler. While the Bears will make some plays on the ground, that won’t be enough to defeat the Packers.

CHRIS:

I’m not going to make a single excuse for the Packers’ performance on Sunday. They simply got beat up by a more physical team. But unlike some, I’m not ready to give up on the Packers by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact, I expect the Packers to bounce back tonight to a level much closer to their 2011 level rather than what they displayed against the 49ers this past week. I say that with confidence. And this may sound strange, because of the way that San Francisco exposed the Packers’ weaknesses.

Outside containment, physicality in the secondary, and offensive line protection will all be improved for Green Bay tonight, and I’d lay money on that.

The game against the Bears tonight isn’t going to come down to what the Bears say, what they do, or how they play. It’s going to come down to whether or not the Packers can make the explosive plays on offense and defense necessary to beat an improved Chicago squad. That’s not necessarily a knock on the Bears, but rather a testament to what the Packers are capable of.

I agree with Amanda: turnovers will be key for Green Bay, as will the play-action deep ball to James Jones and Jordy Nelson. Just a few of those plays will even both teams’ records at 1-1 heading into Week 3.

TYLER:

I definitely agree that the majority of the peoples’ eyes and the pressure will be on the Packers and how they respond to last week’s loss. But the Bears can hurt the Packers in the same way the 49ers did. Chicago has the depth at receiver to burn the Packers’ secondary, and they have the front 4 on defense that can put pressure on Rodgers.

We’re going to see a hungry Bears team that’s been sick of being below the Packers, and looked at as overrated, for too long. It’s only the second game of the season, but the Bears can really make a bold statement by coming out and playing tough. Make this Packers team work. Make them seem not as invincible and not as good as everyone thinks.

I am expecting the Packers to have a decent passing game because the Bears pass defense isn’t that great, and Chicago’s D is setup to stop the run, but that’s all Green Bay will get.

Again, I think we just saw the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Bears’ offense last Sunday. I think you two are underestimating this offense. When this offense is clicking, I’d be scared. Very scared.

The more and more I think about it, the more I can’t wait for this game. It should be a lot of fun, and you can be damn sure that if the Bears win you two will never hear the end of it.

CHRIS:

And I certainly won’t be quiet if the Packers win.

And if Green Bay were to lose, we may never hear from Amanda again…

(I kid. But I wouldn’t want to be her co-worker on Friday.)

***

Bears-Packers Predictions

  • Tyler’s prediction: Bears: 31 Packers 27
  • Chris’s prediction: Packers 27, Bears 17
  • Amanda’s prediction: Packers 27, Bears 21

What do you think? Whose arguments swayed you more? Chime in below.

Who will win tonight's Thursday Night Football matchup between the Bears and Packers?

  • Chicago Bears (44%, 8 Votes)
  • Green Bay Packers (56%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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*****



About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.

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