The Chicago Bears are gearing up for their first NFC North game of the season on Sunday as they welcome the Green Bay Packers back to Soldier Field. The two teams are certainly coming into the game on different paths, with the Bears rolling on a two-game road winning streak and the Packers having dropped two of their first three contests of the season.
With both teams looking to gain a foothold in the division race, we’ve come up with five matchups to watch in the contest, and which team has the edge in each.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler
Yes Cutler has been more responsible with the ball lately, and yes, Cutler has been utilizing his weapons more effectively in the early going than Rodgers has, but we’re still giving the narrow edge to the Green Bay quarterback. These are the kinds of games he loves to play in, and with Jordy Nelson in fine form and Randall Cobb itching to make an impact, he could put on a show against a depleted Bears secondary.
Julius Peppers vs. Jordan Mills
Peppers has been lining up at both outside linebacker and at defensive end for the Packers this season, but for the most part he has one job: get to the quarterback. Mills is going to have his hands full, and even though he’s shown some improvement this season, we’re giving the edge to the wily veteran with a vendetta against his former team.
AJ Hawk vs. Martellus Bennett
One of the best linebackers on the Packers’ roster, Hawk is going to have a big challenge in containing Bennett on seam routes, and the Bears’ tight end should win the battle when it presents itself. Bennett is simply too big and, frankly, too effective right now. He’s locked in and should have another nice afternoon in this one.
Randall Cobb vs. Isaiah Frey
The Packers have been trying to find a spot for Cobb to be productive so far this season, and they’ve begun moving him into the slot at times to open things up for him. With Charles Tillman on IR and Sherrick McManis still out of the lineup, Frey is going to be the nickel corner for the Bears in this game, and Rodgers is going to be targeting this matchup all day. Big edge to Cobb here.
Mike McCarthy vs. Marc Trestman
Both coaches have their strong qualities, but we’re going with Trestman in this one for a simple reason: his playbook. With the Packers’ struggles against the run this season, Trestman is really going to be able to open up the playbook on Sunday, and that ability to take some pressure off the pass should really allow the Bears’ offense to flourish.