BEARS vs. PACKERS: Week 15 Preview - December 16, 2018

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BEARS vs. PACKERS: Week 15 Preview – December 16, 2018

Chicago Bears

Whenever I think of the Chicago Bears’ recent struggles against the Green Bay Packers, I can’t help but recall the classic Charlie Brown clip where he falls over while trying to kick the football.

You know the one:

Charlie Brown is the Bears. The ball is the opportunity to defeat a long-time rival. Lucy is Aaron Rodgers. Like clock work, you can’t help but think that maybe this is the time he gets his foot into the ball and kicks it to the moon. And every time you find yourself believing this is finally it, Lucy pulls it away and leaves Charlie Brown looking foolish.

Sure as God made green apples, someday, the Chicago Bears are going to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. That may be sooner than we think.

Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has the Bears as 5.5-point favorites with an over/under set at 45. Last week’s offensive output probably has oddsmakers feeling a bit more skeptical about attaching a high total in this game.

Series History:

The Bears trail the Packers 93-96-6 in the all-time series. Green Bay has lost just three times in this series since the start of the 2009 season. Enough is enough and it’s time for a change!

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Soldier Field

Broadcast Info: Sunday, December 16 at noon on FOX (Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9

Referee: John Hussey

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • RB Tarik Cohen
  • WR Allen Robinson
  • WR Taylor Gabriel
  • TE Trey Burton
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG James Daniels
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Bryan Witzmann
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DT Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Bilal Nichols
  • OLB Khalil Mack
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • ILB Roquan Smith
  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos

Bears Specialists: 

  • Cody Parkey (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Anthony Miller (kick returner), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

Packers Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Aaron Rodgers
  • RB Aaron Jones
  • WR Davante Adams
  • WR Randall Cobb
  • WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
  • TE Jimmy Graham
  • LT David Bakhtiari
  • LG Lane Taylor
  • C Corey Linsley
  • RG Justin McCray
  • RT Bryan Bulaga

Packers Defense Expected Starters:

  • LDE Dean Lowry
  • NT Kenny Clark
  • RDE Montravius Adams
  • LOLB Kyler Fackrell
  • ILB Blake Martinez
  • ILB Oren Burks
  • ROLB Clay Matthews
  • CB Jaire Alexander
  • CB Josh Jackson
  • FS Tramon Williams
  • SS Kentrell Brice

Packers Specialists:

  • Mason Crosby (kicker), JK Scott (punter, holder), Hunter Bradley (long snapper) Tramon Williams (punt returns), Bashaud Breeland (kick returns)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Bears – Offense

Jordan Howard recorded his first 100-yard game of the 2018 season last week and it gave us flashbacks to how he ran in his first two seasons. Moreover, it rekindled memories of how Howard used to pound away during the coldest months of the year. Howard has averaged 4.65 yards per carry in 12 career games played after December 1, but did so while flying under the radar with the Bears out of contention. However, his late-season stats had me thinking back to how Nagy used Kareem Hunt down the stretch for Kansas City.

Hunt averaged 21.8 carries and 100.5 yards in four meaningful December games for the Chiefs last season after averaging 16.7 attempts and 80.9 yards in 11 games that came before his season-ending. Perhaps Matt Nagy is employing a similar strategy with Howard.

Chicago Bears – Defense

Roquan Smith has a unique challenge ahead of him. Aaron Rodgers shredded the Bears in the middle of the field by picking on inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and targeting pass-catchers on crossing routes. Smith has high-end speed and athleticism Kwiatkoski doesn’t own, but hasn’t completely found his footing as a pass-defender. In addition to his duties in keeping Rodgers honest (whether it’s as a spy or keeping tabs on receivers and tight ends over the middle), Smith needs to keep his eyes in the backfield and make sure running back Aaron Jones doesn’t become a difference maker. There is a lot on the rookie’s plate, but we have seen him come up with big plays in major moments.

Green Bay Packers – Offense

Davante Adams lines up in the slot on 21 percent of his snaps and that number could increase if the Packers wanted to create a mismatch on the inside now that standout nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan is out for the season. Rodgers has tortured Bears defensive backs over the years by wearing out the middle of the field with slot wideouts running slant patterns and dig routes. It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t try to create something there and avoid putting Adams against Prince Amukamara or Kyle Fuller on the outside.

Green Bay Packers – Defense

Jaire Alexander is the Packers’ highest-graded cornerback and will likely draw the assignment of defending Allen Robinson II. Alexander was a standout at Louisville and the excellence he showed off in college is showing up weekly at the pro level. The Packers secondary has allowed big games to Josh Gordon (5 catches, 130 yards, TD), Adam Thielen (8-125-1), and Julio Jones (8-106-2) … and that’s just since Green Bay’s bye so it’s not like that group is impenetrable. It’s just a much more difficult challenge when throwing in Alexander’s direction.

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Author: Luis Medina

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