Packers offensive line vs. Bears front seven
The Packers have allowed 26 sacks this season - 13th in the NFL - but just 54 QB hits (5th) and Pro Football Focus ranks the Green Bay line as the number one pass blocking unit in the NFL. Against Seattle’s star studded front seven, the Packers offensive front allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits; pretty impressive on a day when their quarterback’s leg injuries limited his elusiveness outside the pocket.
The Bears defensive front is the strength of this team! They have produced 33 sacks, getting pressure from more than one point - the key to a good pass rush. Former Detroit Lion Willie Young leads the way with 7.5 sacks from his outside line backing position. Up front at defensive end, Akeem Hicks has seven and the nickel rusher (rookie first round pick) Leonard Floyd also has made seven sacks. Chicago is fifth in the league in sacks per pass play, and sixth in passing yards allowed per game. Believe it or not, Chicago might be every bit as big a challenge in the trenches this week as Seattle was last week.
One note from the Green Bay running perspective: According to Pro Football Focus, When given at least five carries, Ty Montgomery has averaged over four yards per-carry and when added up together, Montgomery averages 6.4 yards per carry when given five attempts or more.
I would expect Montgomery to get more than five carries this Sunday, same for Christian Michael.
Packers passing game vs. Chicago secondary
With temperatures in the zero degree range and 15 mile-per-hour winds, the passing game will likely be compromised in Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. The Packers would have a huge advantage over the Bears secondary if this game were played in ideal conditions, but cold weather and wind has a way of leveling the playing field on the perimeter of the offense and defense.
The Packers are one of two teams in the NFL (Washington) to have three players with 60-plus receptions and 600-plus receiving yards each this season (Jordy Nelson - 75 rec. for 913 yards. / Davante Adams - 63 rec. for 897 yards. / Randall Cobb - 60 rec. for 610 yards). Nelson (12) and Adams (9) have combined for a league leading 21 touchdown receptions between them.
In the first game against Chicago on October 20th, Rodgers passed 56 times completed a club record 39 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Adams had his first one hundred yard game of the season with 13 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, Randall Cobb made 11 catches for 95 yards and a score, while Nelson had just one catch for nine yards. Ty Montgomery made his debut as a running back/wide receiver in that game rushing for 60 yards on 9 carries and catching 10 passes for 66 yards.
On the corners of the Bears defense are veteran Tracy Porter, who many in Chicago believe is having a Pro Bowl type season. Rodgers and company have been picking on him since he came into the league as a second round draft pick by the Saints in 2008. On the other side, rookie free agent Cre’Von LeBlanc has been a bit of a revelation for the Bears. LeBlanc returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown at Detroit last week and broke up two other pass plays. LeBlanc is tough, has a nose for the ball, and good timing on his break to the ball.
The nickel corner now is Bryce Callahan, a second year player who will man the slot. This means he could see both Cobb (if he plays) and Nelson, who has been lining up in the slot more often this season.
The Chicago safeties are a liability in coverage and this would figure to be a great opportunity to work Jared Cook down the seam of this defense, but given the forecast getting anyone down field will be a challenge. This is the most glaring example of the “elements” leveling the playing field.