Early Bird Breakdown MNF Edition Week 9: Bears @ Packers

Welcome to the special Monday Night Football edition of Early Bird Breakdown, recaping last week’s game against Minnesota:

 The Good: The Running Game
Rodgers, Lacy, and Starks combined for 42 carries for a 182 yards. They ran it 13 more times then they threw. The team dynamic has quickly shifted this season to a true balanced attack. Starks led the way with 94 yards on 29 carries with Starks getting all 57 of his yards on only 7 carries. The Thunder-and-lightning-esque approach has provided a lot of different looks in the run game and Green Bay looks like they are really coming together

The Bad: Red Zone Defense

The defense as a whole played actually quite well despite seeing a Christian Ponder-led team putting up 31 points. They kept Minnesota mostly in check but on the few opportunities when Minnesota got to the red zone, they capitalized on three rushing touchdowns.

The Ugly: The opening kick coverage

I think some of the Packers maybe took this one a bit off since the ball was in the back of the end zone. Having said that, there is no way someone should get a 109 yard kick off return, especially when he essentially runs up the middle. He snuck through a small hole, showed he was a good athlete, but there were arms there that should have slowed or stopped him.

How I did:

“Packers win, 31-10 over Minnesota.” – The score was 31-17 going into the fourth quarter so I knew I was already a bit off. The defense also played a little soft in the last quarter letting Minnesota score a couple of touchdowns, one of which was of inconsequence during the closing minutes. The real final was 44-31 Green Bay .

Opponent Recap:

Chicago last took the field two weeks ago against Washington and lost in a shoot out 45-41 after losing Jay Cutler to a groin injury. Although his back up Josh McCown actually outplayed Cutler and gave Chicago a good chance to win. Chicago has caught the injury bug as of late (something the Packers are very familiar with) but unlike the Packers the Bears have seen a significant dip in production, especially on defense, because of it.

The Breakdown:

Packers Offense vs. Bears Defense:

The Bears’ defense historically has played well against the Packers’ offense. However, this is not your Lovie Smith-era Bears team. Chicago currently is 27th in total defense, 27th against the pass and 25th against the run. With Lance Briggs out indefinately there will be plenty of opportunities for Richardson to run. Rodgers will also get plenty of good looks against this pass defense as well.

The Bears are dead last in sacks with nine on the entire team. To put that in perspective, Kansas City has two players with nine or more sacks. Due to the trouble bringing pressure to the quarterback, the ball hawking secondary has not been as productive. Because of this, I could see both Boykin and Nelson surpassing 100 yards. Despite Chicago coming off of a bye, despite grizzly veterans who are very familiar with Rodgers, this is not the same Bears we are used to seeing.

Packers Defense vs. Vikings Offense:

Chicago’s offense has improved under new coach Mark Trestman, they rank 11th in the pass and 14th in rushing. Green Bay has been incredible this season against the run, ranking 4th on the season. With McCown in, look for Green Bay to lock in on Forte and see if the backup has the stuff to beat Green Bay. While Brandon Marshall is a star and Alshon Jeffrey has shown flashes, Green Bay still presents the upper hand against an unproven passing attack now that there is film on the backup.

The Weather Factor:

The conditions for the game are cloudy with a chance of rain about 30%. The weather is a c00l 49 degrees at game time. If the weather stays clear the Packers should be able to dictate the game, however in poor weather Rodgers has more experience than McCown.

The Game:

While recent history against the Bears has been pretty close in score, the Packers nearly always seem to come out on top. I expect the trend to continue, especially with Cutler out. The Bears’ defense is injured and long in the tooth, and it will show with the Packers 34-10 over the Bears .

Fantasy Extra:

Start’em:

Rodgers, Nelson, Boykin, Lacy, Starks: Yes, every halfway relevant Packer is worth a spot. The Bears have given up yards in bunches both on the ground and in the air this season. I expect multiple Packers to get in double digits.

Brandon Marshall: Yes, the backup QB is in. But regardless, Marshall was the most targeted receiver for McCown last week and is Chicago’s best option to move the ball

Sit’em:

Any Bear not named Marshall: Yes, you start Forte if you have no other option at this point but hear me out. He goes against a top 5 run defense without his QB. He isn’t a safety valve for McCown either, despite his hands (it is due to the offense and McCown). But against the now stout GB front I don’t see Forte getting a big day. As for the rest, until I see McCown beat a better defense than Washington I’m not starting anyone that isn’t supremely talented like Marshall.

 

Packers’ TEs: Last week, Rodgers showed that his favoritism lies in his last two receviers in Boykin and Nelson. Green Bay is now more likely to run it anyway with their injuries. Quarless could get a good game, but he just as easily could get virtually no points.

 

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