Week 10 Preview: Packers at Bears - November 12, 2017

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Week 10 Preview: Packers at Bears – November 12, 2017

Chicago Bears

When we last saw the Chicago Bears take the field, they fell short of reaching the .500 mark for the first time since Week 6 in 2014.

Two weeks later, the Bears have something else in their sights, as they try to beat the Green Bay Packers while favored for the first time since a Kyle Orton-led squad bested Aaron Rodgers in overtime at Soldier Field in 2008.

Get pumped. It might actually happen.

“Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Bears (3-5) opened as 3-point favorites on Monday and entered Friday as 6-point home favorites (with the over/under set at 38) against the Packers (4-4), according to Bovada. This is a strange new world for Chicago, which is 0-5 as a favorite straight up and against the line in the John Fox era.

Series History:

The Packers took the all-time series lead with their Week 4 win, moving to 95-94-6. Green Bay has won seven straight games at Soldier Field, with the Bears’ last home win in the series coming on September 27, 2010.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Soldier Field, Chicago

Broadcast Info: noon, FOX-TV (Thom Brenneman, Chris Spielman, Peter Schrager), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Zach Zaidman)

Referee: Tony Corrente

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • FB Michael Burton
  • WR Markus Wheaton
  • WR Tre McBride
  • TE Dion Sims
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Josh Sitton
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Kyle Long
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Mitch Unrein
  • OLB Pernell McPhee
  • ILB Christian Jones
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos

Bears Specialists: 

  • Connor Barth (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Tarik Cohen (kick returner), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

Packers Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Brett Hundley
  • RB Ty Montgomery
  • FB Aaron Ripkowski
  • WR Jordy Nelson
  • WR Randall Cobb
  • TE Lance Kendricks
  • LT David Bakhtiari
  • LG Lane Taylor
  • C Corey Linsley
  • RG Jahri Evans
  • RT Justin McCray

Packers Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Dean Lowry
  • NT Kenny Clark
  • DT Mike Daniels
  • LOLB Clay Matthews
  • ILB Jake Ryan
  • ILB Blake Martinez
  • ROLB Nick Perry
  • LCB Davon House
  • RCB Damarious Randall
  • SS Josh Jones
  • FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Packers Specialists:

  • Mason Crosby (kicker), Justin Vogel (punter, holder), Derek Hart (long snapper), Trevor Davis, Jeff Janis (kick returns), Trevor Davis (punt returns)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Bears – Offense

It’s Mitch Trubisky’s world and we’re just here for the party. Unfortunately, Trubisky’s stats are underwhelming and his inability to move the ball vertically has limited what has been a predictable offense. HOWEVER, seeing Trubisky after a bye week provides a glimmer of hope. The last time Trubisky had an extended period of preparation, he had a strong start against the Minnesota Vikings before tapering off in the second half. How the Bears game plan to prevent a second-half drop-off against Green Bay will likely determine if Chicago can pick up its fourth win.

Green Bay’s rushing defense has allowed a touchdown in four of its last five games, including Jordan Howard, who might be primed for a breakout. Howard has scored in two of his three games against the Packers, but his 3.9 yards per rush average is his lowest against NFC North opponents. Perhaps his luck will change at home, where he gained 90 yards on 17 carries (that’s a 5.3 yards per carry average if you’re keeping score at home) when the two teams squared off at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016.

Chicago Bears – Defense

Leonard Floyd has five sacks in his last five games, a run which started when he picked up a sack against Aaron Rodgers in Week 4. Floyd continues to make progress in all facets of his game, improving his run defense and in coverage. This makes him the kind of well-rounded threat who can be a matchup nightmare for opponents. Floyd often lines up above the right tackle, where the Packers are expected to send Justin McCray in the place of injured starter Bryan Bulaga. Floyd has three multi-sack games in his career, and Week 10 provides an opportunity for his fourth.

Kyle Fuller has out-snapped Marcus Cooper in coverage 73-8 the last two weeks. Cooper missed Week 5 with an injury, and has played more special teams snaps (27) than defensive snaps (13) since returning to the active roster in Week 6. Fuller is playing in a contract year and is making the most of his time on the field, seeing at least 90 percent of the defensive snaps in seven of the team’s eight games this season.

Green Bay Packers – Offense

Jordy Nelson’s Sunday matchup could dictate whether or not the Packers can pull off an upset at Soldier Field. (Packers pulling off an upset at Soldier Field? Wow. That was weird to type.) Nelson lines up on Kyle Fuller’s side of the ball at a 39 percent clip, meaning Fuller, and not Prince Amukamara, could be tasked with stopping the Pro Bowl receiver. In 16 games against the Bears, Nelson has 65 catches, 1,040 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. If Nelson matches up against Fuller, who is the lesser of the Bears’ starting corners, it could give Green Bay the slight edge it needs to get quarterback Brett Hundley moving in the right direction.

David Bakhtiari is PFF’s top-rated left tackle, and his 86.7 pass blocking grade is the best among tackles not on injured reserve. Penetration could prove to be a challenge for Pernell McPhee and whoever the Bears line up on that side of the formation. Bakhtiari, who sat out four weeks earlier in the year, missed the first Bears-Packers game. With right tackle Bryan Bulaga out for the year with a torn ACL, Green Bay needs some kind of stability from the left side of the line.

Green Bay Packers – Defense

Matthew Stafford had to be successful airing it out on Monday because the Detroit Lions were unable to get the ground game going. Detroit’s running backs carried the ball 32 times for 64 yards, as linebacker Jake Ryan and defensive lineman Mike Daniels made their presence felt. Ryan’s run stop percentage of 23.1 percent was the highest among inside linebackers in Week 9, while Daniels came through with a 91.7 run defense grade – and didn’t even make a run stop.

According to Pro Football Focus, opponents have completed 65.4 percent of their passes in late-down situations, which is the fifth-highest in the league through Week 9. Damarious Randall, Kevin King, and Davon House are the three cornerbacks who have taken the most coverage snaps for Green Bay this season, but all three have “poor” grades on PFF’s grading scale. Randall and King rank 102nd and 106th among the 116 qualifying cornerbacks. Ouch.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.