Green Bay, WI. Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season is now in the books, and it again showed how unpredictable this league always seems to be. For the Green Bay Packers, it was supposed to be the home opener where they proved that their loss last January in the playoffs was a fluke, and they would stake their claim as an early season favorite in the NFC. But as everyone saw, the 49ers had other ideas, and Green Bay came up short to begin the new season. With the new schedule this year, where every week we have a Thursday night matchup, it gives teams a chance to quickly forget what happened the previous Sunday, or a chance to build upon a victory and win two games within four days. So this is right where the Green Bay Packers are this week, facing their long-time, bitter rivals in the first game of week 2. It’s funny how quickly a team can go from the penthouse to the doghouse in the NFL, and certain teams feel different levels of desperation from week to week. So with this always anticipated matchup between the Packers (0-1) and Bears (1-0) this Thursday night, all signs point to a Green Bay Packers victory, and here are the 7 reasons why……
1 – Desperation - We are just a week into the season, but the Green Bay Packers cannot afford to go 0-2. Could they potentially come back from this hole and win the NFC North? Sure, but it would be a position that would be very tough to do so in one of the best divisions in the NFL. They need this game a lot more than the Bears do, even though it is just the second game of a 16-game slate.
2 – Tough Road Ahead - After this game vs the Bears at Lambeau Field, the Packers go on the road for 4 out of their next 5. Starting the season at 0-2, with both losses being at home, would not be something Green Bay would want to deal with. They know this game is a crucial one with so many road games coming up.
3 – Packers dominance over the Bears - Including the playoffs, Green Bay has defeated Chicago in 7 of their past 9 matchups. The Bears have not won in Green Bay since 2007, and several of the games in recent years have not been close.
4 – Aaron Rodgers - Think the 2011 NFL MVP wants to bounce back after a tough loss vs the 49ers? He knows the Packers need this game in a big way, and will come out and show why he is the best QB the league has to offer. The media was asking him countless times after Sunday’s loss whether his team was now questioning itself and maybe not as good as they were last year. This is a recipe for a huge performance from #12 this Thursday.
5 – The Bears Reading Their Own Press Clippings - That was quite an offensive performance by Chicago vs Indy, as NFL fans took notice of how the Bears put on a show. Jay Cutler was slingin it, Brandon Marshall was dominating the Colts secondary, Matt Forte was his versatile self, and Michael Bush was pounding away. It was very impressive, and Chicago has to be feeling very good about themselves after week 1. But everything points to them being a little too high, and this is a perfect spot for them to be brought back down to earth just a bit.
6 – The Inconsistent Jay Cutler - Throughout his entire career, Cutler has had times of being absolutely brilliant and has also shown why Denver traded up in the draft several years ago to select him. He has a rocket arm, and can make throws that few other NFL QB’s can. But all too often, he cannot maintain this high level of play, and reverts back to inconsistency. He looked great in week 1, so his track record says he will not be great in week 2.
7 – The Bears Pass Defense - The way to beat Chicago is through the air, and the Packers definitely know this. In 2011, the Bears ranked 28th against the pass, and also gave up over 300 yards in week 1 to Andrew Luck. Yes, the Packers finished 32nd last year against the pass, and were statistically the worst of all-time. However, with both defenses being very poor versus opposing gunslingers, would you be more fearful of facing Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler? We all know the answer, and it isn’t close at all.
Denver Sports by J Simp