The key match ups have tended to be one on one battles in the past, but this one I just couldn't resist. As soon as the Cedric Benson signing was complete I began itching for this game, hoping that Benson could have a strong performance in one, if not both, of the Bear games. Now reason tells me that this probably won't happen. The Bears have a very good front seven and Benson just isn't a dynamic back....but a guy can hope right?
In week 1 Benson did next to nothing. To be honest I wasn't surprised in the least. I'm also not too troubled by this fact either. I'm not one to concluded that based on this our offensive line can't run block, that Benson has nothing left in the tank, or that it's a sign that our offense is going to have troubles this coming year. It was one game against the best run defense in the NFL.
Right now I'm counting my blessing for the small favors from last week's game. On the Benson front the little victory was that there were no fumbles. This seems like a small thing, but it's also a good sign. No team is better at stripping the ball than the 49ers, and yet Benson was able to hang on. Really Packer fans should be in the same place they were with Benson as we were when he was first signed. Conflicted, concerned about the long term answer at running back, but cautiously optimistic about what Benson can do for this offense this year. Especially when playing with a lead and sealing away a game late. This week is a good chance for this to shine.
There are two reasons why I think this could be a strong game for Benson. First, the defense of the Chicago Bears isn't as good as the 49er defense. The Packers are probably only going to meet one more defense of that caliber again this year in the Houston Texans. Apart from them, all of the other defenses we will meet are flawed. Take Chicago for instance, right now the middle of their defense is a bit soft with the injury to Brian Urlacher. A softness that was exploited by the Colts at times during week 1. The Packers offense is much better than the Colts. If the Colts were able to sustain drives and push that defense, then the Packers should be able to as well.
The second reason why I believe this could be Benson's week to shine is that the Packers will need a running game to help control the game. The Bears finally have enough receiving weapons to compete in a shoot out. Brandon Marshall is a legit receiver and Alshon Jeffery is good enough to exploit some of the one on one match ups he will get (especially if those match ups happen to be against Jarrett Bush). Thus, getting a running game going to limit some of their possessions will be helpful. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if McCarthy wants to bring out the running game more if only to get this Packer team a bit more physical through out the week.
This is another week where Benson will be motivated. Hopefully that motivation can translate to hard runs and a strong week for Benson and the Packers.
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