The Chicago Bears (4-3) head to Lambeau Field Monday night to take on the Green Bay Packers (5-2) in a Monday night tilt that will feature new starting quarterback Josh McCown.
With Jay Cutler out nursing a groin injury, McCown is the man head coach Marc Trestman has made the signal-caller for the foreseeable future until Cutler is healthy. The quarterback has only seen limited time in a Bears uniform, but he has shown he can lead an offense. Against the Washington Redskins last week, he completed 14 passes against 19 attempts for 204 yards in his second half relief of Cutler. He also had a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Martellus Bennett with four minutes remaining in the game to give the Bears a short-lived three point lead.
Keys for Chicago Bears victory
The first and most important key for the Bears if they want to win Sunday — protect the ball. The offensive line for the Bears has been tested on multiple occasions this season, and they will continue to be tested Monday night. Johnny Jolly and B.J. Raji, the two defensive bookends for the Packers, anchor a defense that is traditionally unforgiving. This year, they rank fourth in defending the run and 20th in the pass rush. The o-line has to give McCown enough time in the pocket in order for him to find an open receiver, and also give Matt Forte adequate running lanes in order for him to break free and get as many yards as possible.
McCown will need to take advantage of that poor pass rush of the Packers and dump it off to one of the Bears’ many offensive threats, while at the same time playing smart and within himself. Nothing should be forced. The former backup has been in the league for a while, so he knows that. At the same time, the bright lights of Lambeau can be intimidating for even the toughest of teams so the Bears must play it safe on offense.
Just as important for the Bears is containing Aaron Rodgers and the weapons he has at his disposal. You would think the injuries the Packers have sustained on offense to James Jones and Jermichael Finley would force them to slow down their tempo. Not so fast, as wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin along with the running back tandem of rookie Eddie Lacy and veteran James Starks have provided the firepower necessary to keep that offense at a high level.
This could be a tough order for a defense that includes rookie linebackers Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene, but at the end of the day it comes down to knowing your assignments and doing your job effectively. Veterans Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton and the rest of the ball-hawking gang will pick those guys up when they are down, so as long as they play together and do their jobs effectively, they will be just fine.
Bears at Packers on a Monday night in Lambeau Field. The stage is set, all that is left is the entertainment.