The most storied rivalry in all of football (and probably all of sports) is adding another chapter to its book this Sunday night when the 1-0 Chicago Bears travel to Lambeau Field to play the 0-1 Green Bay Packers. This game will answer more than a few questions for each team (is Justin Fields a bum/do the Packers need to trade for a WR) but as always there will be more than a few keys to the game for the Green and Gold to walk away with a win. Below, I’ll cover the three most important.
1. Receiver(s) Stepping Up
If one thing was clear last week for the Packers, it was that there was no clear #1 WR on the team. Possibly due to the almighty Allen Lazard not playing, the Packers passing offense was putrid almost the entirety of the game.
The Packers will be needing one of their established players (Lazard, Watkins, Cobb) or young (Watson, Doubs, Winfree) to step up and assert themselves as the go-to guy for Rodgers. It very likely will change on a weekly basis, but the Pack will need SOMEONE (ANYONE) to do it for this crucial Week 2 matchup.
2. The O-Line Figures it Out
The Packers offensive line play against the Vikings was less than optimal, allowing their opponents to consistently create pressure and get home which directly led to two turnovers from Rodgers. A combination of young receivers needing time to get open and an inexperienced line will tend to lead to that.
If the Packers want to be closing out Sunday night with a win, the offensive line will need to patch it up to the point where Rodgers has a chance to create some offense with the ball in his hands. While not 100% certain yet, I would imagine the Packers will be without their two best linemen in Bakhtiari and Jenkins. Jon Runyan Jr will possibly miss with a concussion as well but as Matt LaFleur does so well, we really won’t know until gametime. Look for players such as Zach Tom and even Sean Rhyan to fill the interior guard spots and take note of who’s going out to the tackle positions. If they can keep Robert Quinn quiet, it should be a good night in Green Bay.
3. The Defense Becomes What Was Promised
Contrary to popular belief, the Packers defense wasn’t actually that bad last Sunday. Justin Jefferson’s statline may say otherwise, but outside of him there wasn’t much going on for the Vikings.
However, this is a defense that has top 10, if not top 5 talent in the NFL. Joe Barry refusing to make changes and continuing to watch Jefferson burn the middle of the field did NOT help the team’s chances at any point. Along with that, there was a grand total of 0 turnovers created from the green and gold. A mixture of Kirk Cousins playing well and minimal pressure being generated, the defense will need a bounce back against a bad Chicago offensive line if they want to be taken for real.
If the defense can get a turnover or two and keep Fields from getting comfortable in the pocket, I like Green Bay’s chances to be up when it matters most.
If Aaron Rodgers continues to accrue shares in the the city of Chicago, the Packers will be fine regardless of how the points up top go. He will carry a lot of federal debt in his name by the end of his career, but all worth it to be able to drop an “I own you” to anyone giving him the double bird after a touchdown run.