It’s hard enough for the Chicago Bears to beat the Green Bay Packers when they’re completely healthy, but without Jay Cutler and other injured pieces of their defense it seems like almost an impossible feat. On the other side, Aaron Rodgers doesn’t seem to mind his wide receivers dropping like flies as long as he has Jordy Nelson.
Rodgers has completed 12 of 13 attempts to Jordy Nelson the last two weeks even without Randall Cobb, James Jones or Jermichael Finley. The two have completed 76.5% of their attempts this season, second best in the NFL among any QB-WR duo with 40 attempts. But it’s more than just Nelson – Rodgers is making Jarrett Boykin look quite useful, completing 13 of the 15 attempts directed at him.
The defense Rodgers is facing this time in Monday Night Football isn’t the one he struggled against a few years ago. The Bears are allowing 391 yards per game, including 274 in the air. Their secondary is struggling, but that’s mostly because their depleted front line hasn’t been able to create pressure on quarterbacks, and without turnovers the Bears’ defense has been a huge liability, allowing the second highest completion percentage on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield: 56.7%. Aaron Rodgers has completed just over 50% of those passes this season, second best in the league.
So what can the Bears do? Run the ball, and hope Josh McCown plays as well as he did in the second half against the Redskins. Matt Forte has rushed for 533 yards, scoring six touchdowns this season. If the Bears can establish a ground game early on and slow things down a bit, they have a shot of disrupting the rhythm Rodgers usually gets into when he faces them: he has thrown 12 touchdowns against the Bears in his last four games against them, all against four or fewer pass rushers.
The problem for Chicago will be stopping the Packers’ improved running attack, averaging 141 yards per game this season, including 4.8 yards per carry.
Predictions – The Bears aren’t losing games because of their quarterback. Josh McCown can do a great job, it won’t matter with one of the weakest and most penetrable defenses in the NFL, allowing Aaron Rodgers to have another big game.