By: David Dzienis
If you want hard fought, smash-mouth football, look no further then Sunday night’s matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. Known as two of the most physical teams in league history, this division matchup is always fun to watch. Sadly, it hasn’t been nearly as competitive lately, with both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers dominating the Bears. It feels like the Bears have been stuck in QB purgatory for years, with no end in sight.
As usual, the Bears are sporting one of the leagues toughest defenses. Led by Khalil Mack, this team is littered with defensive playmakers. Robert Quinn has started coming along while Trevathan and Hicks have been their normal dominant selves, when healthy. Kyle Fuller is back to looking like a top corner in the league, and Roquan Smith has molded into one of the games top linebackers. Sadly, this squad just can’t save one of the worst offenses in recent memory. With no running game to speak of, and inconsistency from the QB spot, this team just can’t find the end zone. There have been tiny, and I mean miniscule, glimmers of hope. Allen Robinson still looks like a top receiver, and rookie Darnell Mooney has shown elite speed and ability to separate. If the quarterback spot could be solidified, this could be a scary squad to face.
Aaron Rodgers once again has his Packers in the division lead. Despite losing two of the last three, the pack still controls their own destiny. While the defense has been solid, the offense has carried the burden here. With Davante Adams looking like one of the leagues top stars, and Aaron Jones keeping defenses honest, there isn’t a glaring weakness anywhere on this offense. Even tight end has been solidified with the emergence of Robert Tonyan. The main issue has been that they don’t seem to be able to keep up with elite defenses, which is exactly what they are going to have to do to beat the Bears. They eked a win against the Saints, barely lost to the Colts, and got blown out by the Bucs. If Rodgers can’t find a way to elevate this receiver core against the mighty Bears defense, this game may be closer than most expect.
Chi 17-G.B. 21
The Seahawks look like one of the best offenses in the league. The Seahawks also look like one of the worst defenses in the league. They are basically the polar opposite of the Bears. The defense is the most confusing aspect of this team. With high tier offseason acquisitions, this team looked like they had one of the sturdiest defenses on paper. It just hasn’t manifested in the game. Meanwhile, Pete Carroll has finally given in and “Let Russ Cook” has become one of the best stories of the season. With the always humble Tyler Lockett and the electrifying D.K. Metcalf taking turns being all-stars, Wilson has looked like a front-runner for league MVP. The part no one seems to notice is that the recent losing streak coincided with the injuries to top RBs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. Hyde returned last week, and the entire offense looked much better because of it. With the backs keeping defenses honest, the high-flying receivers were wide open on several occasions. When Carson finally returns, this team will look back on track to be a favorite to win the division, if not the conference.
The other birds in this game, the Philadelphia Eagles, look more like pigeons this year. While you can attribute most of that to injury luck, some of it has to fall on Doug Pederson’s coaching and Carson Wentz’s inconsistency. Wentz has been a turnover machine, leading the league in interceptions. His top wideout on the year has been someone named Fulgham, who was on absolutely no one’s radar entering the season. However, due to the terrible division they are in, the Eagles are still in a prime position to get to the playoffs. This game will come down to if Wentz can get back on track against one of the leagues worst pass defenses.
Sea 38-Phi 20
Now for the infamous Tuesday night Covid Bowl. With daily news about more Ravens, and now even Steelers RB James Conner, getting covid, this game may end up being postponed. If it is somehow played, it’s going to be one of the most unpredictable games all year. The Ravens have been faltering of late, but with so many starters out, we can’t really judge how this team will perform. We simply don’t know enough about who will be able to play. For the undefeated Steelers, despite looking like they will be playing a second-string team, they can’t take their foot off the gas. Pile on the points whenever possible. This is still a Ravens-Steelers game. I can’t remember the last time this game ended in a blowout. While I believe the amazing receiving core and top defense should manhandle this decimated Ravens squad, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out hungry. This is still the NFL, everyone is a pro.
Bal 10-Pit 36
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