Packers-Bears: First Thoughts On The Third Matchup
Well this is the matchup everyone was hoping for last weekend and what makes this particular meeting between the two teams so intriguing (aside from the high stakes) is the unpredictability of both teams.
You really can't put too much stock into the first two meetings between the Packers and Bears. Chicago has reinvented itself since the Week Three and the Packers are certainly much more disciplined than what we saw on that penalty-riddled night. Granted, the Packers haven't changed much since Week 17 but while Chicago did play all four quarters the Bears showed no urgency until the final two minutes.
So, expect the unexpected.
Here in the postseason the Packers proved yet again they have the horses to run the ball while the Bears showed plenty of offensive life in last week's win over Seattle. You don't think of Chicago as the kind of team that can easily put up at least 35 points, yet they've done it three times in the last four games.
We know there is so much familiarity between the two clubs that you have to think this game will resemble a chess match. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few wrinkles added here and there to break that familiarity. But what you also have is two teams saving their best football for the end of the season. For the Packers that means giving Aaron Rodgers time to carve up whatever is in front of him. For Chicago it means using turnovers and special teams to give Jay Cutler good field position.
So it could be a shootout or a tight, close-to-the-vest type of game like we saw in the regular season finale. Not surprisingly, neither style favors one team over the other. Both have proven they can win with offense and defense. This early in the week it's almost impossible to tell who's going to have the advantage come Sunday. That was made clear by the 3 1/2 point spread that favors the away Packers. Even Vegas knows to expect the unexpected.