Green Bay Packers vs. Bears Preview: What to Watch For on Sunday

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs the offense against the Chicago Bears during their football game Sunday, November 29, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.Cent02 7dgj5at4o8113z7p0hj8 Original
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs the offense against the Chicago Bears during their football game Sunday, November 29, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.Cent02 7dgj5at4o8113z7p0hj8 Original /

The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will face each other Sunday, which will mark the 203rd meeting between the two storied franchises, the NFL’s longest rivalry dating back to 1921.

The Packers have taken a slight edge in the head-to-head matchup, leading overall 101-95-6 and, as of late, have completely dominated the Bears.

After a wild finish in Cincinnati, the Packers have now won four in a row and look to improve their lead in the NFC North. Meanwhile, the Bears are coming off an impressive win over the Las Vegas Raiders to improve to 3-2 and look to stay on pace with the Packers.

Let’s take a look at three things to watch for on Sunday when the Green Bay Packers take on the Chicago Bears.

Pressuring the quarterbacks

The Chicago Bears lead the NFL in total sacks and are second in pressures only behind the Cleveland Browns. As a unit, they have hounded opposing quarterbacks, and the former All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack looks spry and back to his old self as he leads the team with five sacks so far this season.

Look for the Bears to apply pressure to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers utilizing Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Robert Quinn. Among quarterbacks with at least 30 dropbacks, Rodgers currently ranks 32nd in passer rating while under pressure, something we are not used to seeing out of him.

Some re-enforcements could be heading the Packers way along the offensive line, however. According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, both Josh Myers and Elgton Jenkins have returned to practice. Jenkins has missed the last three games, while Myers missed his first this past Sunday.

On the flip side, the Packers have done a surprisingly good job of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, even with All-Pro Za’Darius Smith on IR.

Last week, we saw how important it is for the Green Bay Packers defense to get pressure, as they forced Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow into two interceptions, one of them coming in overtime.

The Bears’ offensive line is questionable at best, and guys like Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and Kenny Clark will need to come ready to play.

Red-Zone efficiency on both sides of the ball

Last year, we saw insane numbers and production out of the Green Bay Packers inside the 20-yard line, but so far, this season has been a different story.

The Packers are near the bottom of the NFL, ranking 27th overall in red-zone touchdown scoring percentage at a rate of 55 percent. A much lower rate than last season’s 80 percent clip.

What does Green Bay’s offense need to do to get back on track? During Wednesday’s press conference, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers provided a simple solution to their red-zone woes:

"“I thnk we need to be more aggresive. I think that’s the biggest thing. Last year, we scored on an 80-percent clip, which is crazy. This year, we are more down in the 50s.”"

On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers defense has allowed a touchdown on every single possession inside the red zone this season, ranking dead-last in the NFL.

Without question, the Packers will need to improve on both sides of the ball in order to win, not only this game but to be in contention down the road in January and beyond.

Chicago’s offensive struggles 

Bears quarterback and first-round pick Justin Fields will be making only his fourth career start and looking to get an offense that has only averaged 16.8 points per game heading in the right direction.

The Bears’ offensive line, for lack of a better term, is just not good. I expect that we will see Matt Nagy try and use Justin Fields in both the running and passing game, moving him out of the pocket.

Historically, the Green Bay Packers have not defended mobile quarterbacks all that well, and Fields will provide some athleticism that they haven’t seen yet this year.

The Packers are not the only team dealing with injures either, as the Bears have some injuries concerns of their own. On offense, they are already without running back David Montgomery, and yesterday they placed backup running back Damien Williams on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, leaving his status in doubt. Allen Robinson has been on this week’s injury report as well–something else worth monitoring.

With Williams potentially out for Sunday’s game, look for this year’s sixth-round draft pick, Khalil Herbert, to try and get the Bears running game going Sunday against a surging Packer defense.

The Bottom Line

I just don’t know where the offense will come from for the Bears. We haven’t seen that offensive surge from them, and I’m not sure we see it this week either, as the Packers’ defense has improved each of the last four weeks.

The recipe for the Packers is simple: Protect 12, and they should come out victorious.