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3 keys to Packers-Bears game

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Here's a sneak peek at Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Pete Dougherty's 3 keys in the Packers-Bears game Sunday night:  1. Chicago’s QB woes When Kansas City defeated the Packers last week, the Chiefs at least had a legiti¬ mate NFL starting quarterback in Kyle Orton, even if he had a .500 record and it was his first start with the Chiefs. Can the Bears say the same? Josh McCown hasn’t started a game since 2007 and, aside from training camp with the San Francisco 49ers this year, was out of football from the start of the 2010 regular season until he signed with the Bears in late Novem¬ ber. He’s starting by default. Jay Cutler has a broken thumb and Caleb Hanie went 0-4 with a 41.8 passer rating in Cutler’s place. Tough to win with these kind of problems at quarterback. 2. Peppers vs. Packers’ O-line Can the Packers handle one of the league’s better defensive line rotations after having to jockey around their offen¬ sive line this week? The Bears have good depth plus one dominant lineman in Julius Peppers, who lines up at either end de¬ pending on the situation and matchup. Peppers will be matched against left tack¬ le Marshall Newhouse, who has played OK but been prone to several bad snaps a week, or T.J. Lang, who was at left guard all season until moving to right tackle be¬ cause of injuries last week. Lang played fine as a tackle earlier in his career, so this is nothing new for him. But those matchups should favor Peppers. 3. Can Packers score? Bears coach Lovie Smith and his Tampa- 2 scheme have done well against coach Mike McCarthy’s Packers. Smith’s defens¬ es have held the Packers to 21 points or fewer in nine of their 11 matchups going back to McCarthy’s first year in 2006. The question this week is whether the Packers can function better without injured re¬ ceiver Greg Jennings than they did last week against the Chiefs. If tight end Jer¬ michael Finley or receivers such as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb don’t make some tough plays this week, the Packers will have to pull out another low-scoring game against the reeling Bears. — pdougher@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @PeteDougherty.

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