Oct 16, 2021

Bears vs. Packers: Three things to know for the Week 6 matchup

Aaron Rodgers Khalil Mack Green Bay Packers Chicago Bears
(USA Today Sports)

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I think we can all agree that there's something different about Bears-Packers week. Even when one team flounders (Bears) and the other flourishes (Packers), the leadup to the game always brings a little bit more juice.

Of course, it helps when both teams are actually playing for something and in this case, it's first place in the NFC North division.

Sure, it's only Week Six but this is a pivotal game. The Packers, while winning their last four games after dropping the opener, have had some scares over the last three weeks. The Bears are also riding a winning streak behind rookie Justin Fields and appear to have moved past some of their issues earlier in the season.

Given the historic rivalry and various storylines from the past year alone, I could probably list at least 10 things to know. But we have a game to get ready for and beefs to put on so let's stick with three. In the meantime, check out Kevin Kaduk's list of top-five games between the two rivals during the Favre-Rodgers era and see if it matches up with yours.

1. Justin Fields will need to level up for a win

Since taking over as the starting quarterback, we've seen incremental progress from Justin Fields. He followed up a disastrous debut in Cleveland with an impressive display against Detroit, then took a barrage of hits to lead a victory in Las Vegas. We haven't seen the eye-popping numbers yet from Fields, but this is the week to show out.

The Bears have relied on their running game over the last few weeks, but now that they're down to just Khalil Herbert, the passing attack will be vital for offensive success. It helps that Green Bay will not have All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander and starter Kevin King in the lineup. It's a great opportunity to take advantage of mismatches with receivers like Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson. Fields will also likely need to use his legs in running situations as well, given the current state of the backfield. It's all adding up for an impressive performance, one that doesn't scare him in the slightest.

2. Jaylon Johnson vs. Davante Adams is the matchup to watch

Prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson listed Packers wide receiver Davante Adams as the player he was most excited to cover. Johnson got his wish by getting drafted by the Bears and now he faces Adams for the second time in his career.

Johnson flashed in his rookie season, but struggled at times before missing the the last three games of the year with an injury, keeping him out of the season finale against the Packers.

Johnson has elevated his game in his sophomore year. Through five weeks, Johnson is allowing a 44 percent completion percentage and quarterbacks have a rating of just 51.6 when targeting him. He hasn't allowed a touchdown and is ready to shadow some of the league's best receivers.

Not surprisingly, Adams has the most yards against the Bears (814) than he has against any other team. But the defense never shadowed him and moved players around like Sean Desai has this year. This will be the key matchup to watch and will go a long way in determining the winner.

3. There are some good omens lining up for the Bears

We can look at injuries, matchups, and trends all we want. Like I said, there's a lot we can focus on when it comes to Bears and Packers. But why not look at some of the other factors in the game that might present good omens for the Bears?

To start, Chicago will once again be wearing their 1936 throwback white uniforms. Since debuting them in 2019, albeit with some controversary due to the NFL's race issues back in the '30s as noted by Windy City Gridiron's Jack Silverstein, the Bears are 3-0 in those uniforms, averaging 27.6 points per game. In fact, the last two games played in these jerseys, they have scored 31 and 36 points, respectively.

With the Bears wearing white, that means the Packers must wear their green jerseys and that will be a first for them at Soldier Field. In the 50 years that the Bears have called Soldier Field home, the Packers have never worn their green home jerseys in the stadium. Perhaps it will reverse quite a few fortunes?

Lastly, you can't kick off the game without a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, sung by none other than Jim Cornelison. Soldier Field will be loud from the jump and you know the atmosphere will just be different. Truthfully, I have the Packers winning this game, but there are quite a few extra things happening that could point to an upset. We'll find out soon enough.

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