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Bears Sat Sep 25 2010
As the war drums of Halas pound and as the faithful line up for joyous reward, a dark, smoldering cloud of glowering fury descends from the NORTH. Caution, Bears faithful. Here be the dragon that is Green Bay. The hated green and gold nemesis that has spurned the Ursa Chicagoans into fits of fury over losses and conniptions of delirium upon winged victory, is once again clawing at the gates of Soldier Field, demanding challenge and expecting no quarter. The Sturm und Drang accompanying this match is unequivocal for Bears fans. A win? Pandemonium. Bragging rights. A game up in the divisional race. A loss? Depression. Bitter pills. A glomming sense of doom that the 2-0 start was a mirage. To say nothing of the fact that this is the 180th meeting of the two squads.
In the past 15 years the rivalry has lost a touch of its luster. The Minnesota Vikings, to most Packer Backers, are the dreaded rival with visions of a banshee-esque Randy Moss (when he was a Vike) scorching their retinas. Meanwhile, the Bears ('06 Super Bowl run excepted) have toiled in anonymity as the "other" team in the NFC North. Not bad enough to be Detroit and not good enough to be a contender. However, the rivalry itself strikes at that most Midwestern of conflicts; small town sensibility vs big city glitter. All Midwesterners consider themselves the salt of the earth, the "honest day's work for an honest day's wage" etc. Yet, across the staid and oh-so-verdant hills of Door County and small town Wisconsin there's that creeping sense of fear and mistrust with the big, bustling, slick-talking Chicagoan. The players all are millionaires on both sides of the line of scrimmage, yet, that harboring of mistrust and skepticism from the townies and that certain haughtiness that (even in the Midwest) comes with living in a metropolitan bleeds across the lines of fandom. This Monday Night game screams at the passions, sensibilities and hopes of the Midwest. Rejoice, football fans, suits and over-alled alike. But enough hyperbolic bluster, this game speaks for itself.
When Green Bay Has The Ball
The Packers offense, even with the loss of running back Ryan Grant to a season ending ankle owie, are a ferocious and aggressively attacking bunch. Aaron Rodgers has emerged over the course of the past 20 games or so as a dominant QB in the league. His accuracy, range are untouchable. His poise in the pocket and ability to evade would-be tacklers is a blessing as the offense's primary weakness is a lacking offensive line --sound familiar Bears fans?
The receiving corp. of Green Bay is a constant threat to score from nearly any point on the field. Greg Jennings is a name all Bears fans should remember as catching the game-winning, 50-yard touchdown reception in the waning seconds of the season-opener last year at Lambeau Field.(see below)
Jennings has not fallen off that pace and with the emergence of half-pachyderm/half-man, Jermichael Finley at the tight end spot, Jennings is evermore a constant threat to get loose on a deep catch. Finley in the open field is akin to attempting to tackle a 'roided up giraffe, bison hybrid. He's just monstrously proportioned, impossibly fast and so sure-handed. Good luck, Bears secondary in containing the aerial attack.
When da Bears Have da Ball
Cutler Bot 5000 has been in artillery grade, Howitzer condition thus far. The running game has been stalled out for weeks (starting last year, continuing through the pre-season and now two weeks into the reg. season). Still, with Cutler dropping bombs like Jigga drops rhymes there's not been much need for a ground attack. That changes this week. Green Bay loves the blitz, they love pressuring the QB with stunts that look like blitzes but really are just d-linemen busting through and harrying the signal caller. Green Bay's secondary was playing all of last season on "heroes and legends"-mode and a regression to the mean isn't out of the question. Still, it's an interception, fumble-causing happy group that's far too willing to exploit the weak and dying dove lob balls that Cutler occasionally tosses. Cutler can break the pressuring with quick under routes and slants to Olsen and/or Forte and even Chester Taylor. However, with the run game hanging out at Rosehill Cemetery, Green Bay can design a defensive package that matches the scheming and in-game switches that Mike Martz has been busting out.
The real "x-factor" of this game is going to be the troglodytic metal enthusiast, Clay Matthews. The brutish Green Bay linebacker has been an unstoppable force of nature in the early goings of this season. Six sacks in two games for a total of -44 yards along with a forced fumble, Clay Matthews also is a dj and he made Cutler Bot a special mash-up (so hot with the tweeners these days) of The Scorpions "Rock You Like A Hurricane" and Antoine Dodson's "Bed Intruder". So run and tell that, homeboy...
As always thanks for reading and leave the comments in the comments section. Enjoy the game, sons and daughters of Chicago.