The Chicago Bears will be in for a tough test as they venture into a soggy Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, but the poor conditions aren’t the only things that will make the game tough for the team.
With that in mind, we are taking a look at the five players who will play a key role for Chicago as they try to get back in the win column and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
After missing the last three games with a knee injury, Forte will return to the lineup on Thursday night, and even though it’s not clear how big of a role he will play in the game, one would have to assume that he’ll have to make the most of his opportunities for the Bears to win.
After all, the Bears will be without Martellus Bennett in the game, robbing them of one of their primary short-yardage receiving options. Eddie Royal’s absence also forces Forte into a more active role in the passing game, and the wet conditions add yet another factor that must be considered.
To be blunt, the Bears’ pass rush does not function properly when McPhee isn’t getting into the backfield. That will be especially critical against a precise quarterback like Aaron Rodgers and against a running back like Eddie Lacy, who is coming off of an excellent game against the Minnesota Vikings last week.
There are still question marks about McPhee’s health, but he’ll still have to be a big contributor if the Bears are going to be competitive in this game.
With Bennett out of the mix Thursday night, Miller is going to take on the role of Jay Cutler’s security blanket in the offense. He has made some big plays during the last few games, and Adam Gase is clearly becoming more comfortable with him as a receiving option. With wet conditions likely limiting the deep ball for both teams, a player like Miller could make a significant difference, and the Bears will need him to play well.
The Bears’ secondary has shown some signs of improvement in recent weeks, but against a team dotted with good receivers and a really good quarterback, they’ll have to raise their collective game to another level. Porter will be a big part of that, as he’s been routinely drawing tough assignments and making plays in recent games.
With Alshon Jeffery returning to the lineup, Wilson won’t be as big a factor in the offense, but he made some nice strides in his game against the Denver Broncos in the team’s last game. With Royal out of the picture, Wilson will become a key speed option for Cutler on quick slants and screen passes, and if he can catch the ball in space and make plays, he could really stretch out the Green Bay secondary and give more room to some of Chicago’s other weapons.