3 Key matchups for Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

It’s been a rough 2022 season for the Green Bay Packers in all three phases of the game, but even so, this is a game on Sunday against Chicago that they should be able to win–although, of course, that doesn’t mean much this year.

Green Bay is the more talented team from top to bottom, and their offense will have the opportunity to continue building momentum against a struggling defense. However, the Bears’ run game could very much give the Packers issues.

If the Packers are going to come away with the victory and keep their playoff hopes alive for the time being, here are three matchups that they must win.

Packers wide receivers vs. Kyler Gordon and Kindle Vildor

The last time these two teams met back in Week 2, Aaron Rodgers went after rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon, who plays primarily from the slot but also on the boundary at times. Rodgers threw at Gordon 13 times, completing 10 of those passes for 163 yards with two touchdowns per PFF ($$).

Gordon has since seen some improvement, including a tackler and a four-game stretch where he allowed just 6.5 yards per completion. However, overall, he is still allowing a completion rate of 82% on 61 targets at 12.3 yards per catch, with two pass breakups and an interception.

Kindle Vildor, meanwhile, has allowed a 67% completion rate and 14.2 yards per catch with a passer rating of 112 when targeted. With Jaylon Johnson on one side of the field, Gordon or Vildor are likely to be tested heavily again by Rodgers. Overall, Chicago is giving up 7.6 yards per pass play, and that ranks 31st.

With the play of Christian Watson in the last three weeks, the Packers have a newfound big-play ability that was missing the last time they played Chicago. Watson’s emergence has also helped create opportunities for other pass catchers and the run game. The potential for the Packers’ offense to put up some numbers on this Bears’ secondary is certainly there.

Quay Walker vs. Justin Fields

One week after the Green Bay Packers allowed 157 rushing yards to Jalen Hurts, which included some abysmal tackling; it looks like they will have to contend with Justin Fields, who was a full participant at Thursday’s practice.

On both designed runs drawn up by offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and Fields going off-script, he has totaled 834 rushing yards this season on nearly seven yards per attempt with seven touchdowns.

According to Matt LaFleur, the Packers missed 22 tackles against the Eagles, with Quay Walker looking like a rookie at times, contributing to that total. While we can question Joe Barry’s heavy usage of nickel against an offense that runs the ball as much as Philadelphia does, as LaFleur also pointed out, the scheme doesn’t much matter when 20-plus tackles are being missed.

Fields brings a similar playmaking ability that Green Bay will have to defend. We saw Walker utilized as a spy on a few occasions in Philadelphia, and with the Bears struggling passing game, using him in that capacity more often this week should be an option. Walker’s main focus should be on containing Fields.

Of course, slowing Fields will be an entire defensive effort with all 11 defenders swarming to the football, but essentially, wherever Fields goes, Walker should be in the area.

David Montgomery vs. Packers run defense

Just like Justin Fields will test the Packers’ defense again, so will David Montgomery and the Bears’ run game. Chicago will be without the explosive Khalil Herbert, but David Montgomery has been one of the more difficult backs to bring down this season, ranking 13th in yards after contact and seventh in missed tackles.

The Bears average the most rushing attempts per game in the NFL and rank 28th in pass DVOA. There really shouldn’t be any sort of guessing in what they will want to do against Green Bay–the Packers should be 100% prepared to slow the run game.

Although they were burned by Ryan Tannehill and the Titans’ passing game, Green Bay should take a similar approach against the Bears from a run-defense standpoint. In that game, we saw Barry utilize a lot of six-man fronts and heavier boxes in that game, which helped keep Derrick Henry in check.

Now, will the Packers take a similar approach? Honestly, who knows? The last time these two teams played, Montgomery picked up a lot of yardage in the second half against a soft Packers defense that was protecting a two-score lead. But slowing the run game, along with Fields — which won’t be easy — should be the top priority. Force the Bears to move the ball through the air.