GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 09: Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers returns a punt for a touchdown during the NFL season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
We are getting into the homestretch folks. Before you know it's going to be kickoff to one of the best games of the year....Packers versus Bears. For so long this was the game that a Packers win would erase just about everything wrong with a season. The Packers went 2-14? That's okay as long as those two wins were against the Bears (full disclosure this is a lie, really you'd want a 6-10 season with sweeps against the Vikings and Lions as well....but you know what I'm getting at if you remember Packer football from the 80's).
So the question is going to become can the Packers get a win this week and start to turn this season around? Football is a team game, but it's also a game that rests on individual match ups. So here are five players where victory will turn for the Packers:
1. Morgan Burnett. The safety play of the Packers may be the key to turning around the secondary. As I have thought about the defeat handed down to us by the 49ers one of the things my mind has been coming back to is how soft the coverage was from the corners. Why in the world would Dom Capers do this? The main answer my mind keeps coming back to is a complete distrust of those playing safety. I don't blame him. Right now the Packers have a large gap in experienced talent at safety. If Burnett can't step and play the way the Packers expect him to then the team has to turn to a host of unproven players at the position.
2. Alex Green. I'm still expecting a nice game out of Cedric Benson, but Green is a Packer who really needs to show something on the field. I don't know where his knee is at right now, but having an option out of the backfield besides Randall Cobb could go a long way for the Packers. Also it would be nice to see Benson and Green form a one two punch out of the backfield.
3. Sam Shields. There has got to be a better option for the #2 cornerback spot than Jarrett Bush, and that option may just be Shields if Davon House is still unable to go on Thursday night. Shields had a pretty good day tackling against the 49ers and may be a suitable answer against some of the speedy Chicago receivers.
4. Randall Cobb. Cobb started his coming out party against the Niners with a big day catching and returning punts. Look for that to continue with Greg Jennings listed as doubtful and the Packers needing more offense than any previous Bear game before.
5. D.J. Smith. Smith did not have a good game against the 49ers. He struggled getting guys to the ground and lacked physical play at the point of attack. This may be a tired refrain at this point, but the offensive line of the Bears is not the same caliber as the 49ers. This provides a good chance at redemption for Smith and many on the Packers defense. A good game from Smith can go a long way to building back the trust of the fans in the Packers D.
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