Putting pressure on Rodgers at Soldier Field on Sunday will be paramount. The three-time NFL MVP has dominated the Bears for the past decade, winning 19 of 21 starts since 2010, not counting a 2013 game in Green Bay which he left early with a broken collarbone. In his last 13 games against the Bears, Rodgers has thrown 34 touchdown passes and two interceptions.
“He’s seen a lot, he’s super smart and he’s super talented,” said Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai. “That’s all good formula for a quarterback in this league. He does it all and he has seen it all.
“It’s about mixing it up and giving him different looks that are fair or not fair. Whether you’re disguised or not, it’s about giving him different looks and giving him different pictures. You just keep playing the game playing with him, and it’s going to be a 60+ minute struggle for us to do that.”
(2) Will the Bears be able to run the ball effectively despite an empty backfield?
The Bears have begun to establish an identity on offense over the past two weeks fueled by a productive running game. Rebounding from a disappointing Week 3 loss to the Browns, they rushed to 188 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries on October 3 in a 24-14 win over the Lions.
Starting decline David Montgomery left with a knee injury in the fourth quarter against Detroit and missed last Sunday’s game in Las Vegas. Undeterred, the Bears ran 143 yards and one TD on 37 attempts in a 20-9 win over the Raiders, with rookie Khalil Herbert gaining 75 yards on 18 carries and veteran Damien Williams adding 64 yards and one TD on 16 rushes.
Unfortunately, Williams was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday and is not expected to play against the Packers on Sunday. That means Herbert will likely start, with four-year veteran Ryan Nall moving up to the additional backup role.
“When you start to go ahead and create an identity, you start to understand that these players all have their own strengths and weaknesses,” said Bears head coach Matt Nagy. “What we have to do as coaches is make sure we use those strengths, whatever it is, whether it’s kind of a scheme in the run game, whether it’s protection in the pass game, just to a little easier.”
(3) Will Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields continue to show steady growth?
Coaches are pleased with the progress the first-round draft pick has made over the course of his first three NFL starts. A particularly impressive play came in Las Vegas last Sunday when Fields beat a blitz with a quick throw to Allen Robinson II, picking up 12 yards on third-and-7 to sustain a drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Another play that served as a testament to the young quarterback’s development was his 2-yard touchdown pass against Jesper Horsted’s tight end. Fields escaped from the pocket, rolled to the right and shot the ball to Horsted, who caught the pass with a defender over him.
“A lot of guys come out of college and look for a receiver that’s wide open, and… [Horsted] wasn’t wide open,” Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. “He was more ‘NFL open,’ and [Fields] gave him a chance anyway. That’s the big thing I got from it. That was just fine.”
Fields completed 64, 32, 28 and 27 yards against the Lions two weeks ago. His longest pass was just 18 yards against the Raiders. On Thursday, Lazor said he had hoped to call more downfield pitches in Las Vegas, but circumstances dictated otherwise. The coach also vowed that he will be ready to call those games against the Packers if the need arises.
“We have a large call-up form,” Lazor said. “We have alot [of long pass plays]. I mentioned earlier that I didn’t get as many explosive plays in the Raider game as we would have liked. Some of you think they are staring at you on the sheet but then you look up at the scoreboard and you see the time ticking and you see how the game is going and you have to do what’s best to win that game at the time .”
(4) Will the Bears defense be able to contain Packers star receiver Davante Adams?
Voted to the last four Pro Bowls, Adams entered Week 6’s leading NFL receivers with 42 receptions and 579 yards. Last year, he topped the league with a career-high 18 touchdown catches.
“He’s one of the best as a trail runner,” Desai said. “He understands stems, he has a wide range of toolboxes to beat different looks, and it’s an honor for him to develop that. That’s what makes him great. There’s a handful, maybe you can count them on two hands of receivers who do that in this league, and he’s one of them.”
It is not known whether the Bears will have top cornerback Jaylon Johnson to cover Adams wherever he is in line, as Johnson did a few weeks ago with Browns star Odell Beckham Jr. follow each game the best receiver. He is the best [Packers] recipient, so of course I’m looking forward to that matchup. We’ll see what happens.”
“He has good releases, good routes, good hands, [he’s] just one of the best receivers in the league,” added Johnson. “So it’s really about finding the technique to be able to play against him because everyone tries to play against him the same way and everyone has the same result. It’s really about finding a switch-up, not even his weaknesses, but what works best against him.”
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