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Packers vs. Bears, Week 4: Five Things to Watch For

With two potent offenses, this should be a fun one to watch. I rate it four heart attacks.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If you recall, the last time these two teams met, the Bears spent the remaining few seconds of the game watching Aaron Rodgers smash their still-beating hearts into tiny bits on the ground. So to say the Bears should have plenty of motivation for this weeks' matchup at Soldier Field is a bit of an understatement.

Of course, that's never been a problem as these two teams consistently play each other tough regardless of their current record. Still, that the Bears were this close to the finish line only to be tripped up by a busted coverage must have sat about as well as Chicago style beef after a night of heavy drinking. Fortunately for them, they come in with plenty of momentum having won two straight, while the Packers have Brad Jones'd their way to a 1-2 record including last week's offensive dud versus Detroit.

Can the Packers rebound versus a seemingly vulnerable Chicago secondary? It's just one of the 5 things to keep an eye on this week:

About that offense...

It's scheme! It's execution! It's Finkle! It's Einhorn! There have been plenty of theories as to what's got the Packers offense in a funk, but the simple answer is this: It's both. A perfect scheme won't mask poor execution, and most defensive coordinators can dissect a crap scheme no matter how good the execution. So whether it's adjustments or just guys needing to play better, the Packers need to figure out how to make things work. And while the Bears appear to be a favorable matchup on defense, they actually lead the league in total takeaways, meaning the Packers will not only have to play hard - they'll need to play smart.

Forte in space

If there's one area that's consistently exploitable on the Packers defense, it's the middle of the field. Not coincidentally, that's where sure-handed backs like Matt Forte are able to do damage in the passing game. In two games last season, Forte averaged nearly 5 catches a game for 10 yards a pop and a touchdown. That's great for my fantasy team. For the Packers? Not so much. And in case you haven't noticed, the Packers linebackers are pretty average in coverage, meaning that if Forte does slip out into space, he could be a real pain to try and tackle. Maybe he'll trip on A.J. Hawk's helmet?

More Starks and Harris

It's not like Eddie Lacy suddenly became Rashaan Salaam overnight (c/o: Jason Hirschorn), but it's clear last year's offensive rookie of the year isn't running quite the same in 2014. He may very well round into form as the season goes on (like he did last year) but for now, one has to wonder how long Mike McCarthy goes before giving James Starks and DuJuan Harris more opportunities. Not like I expect Lacy to be outright benched, but when you have at least one backup running back capable of a 100-yard game, it makes sense to work them into the plans if Lacy once again starts off slow.

Julius Peppers on a rampage

Few things motivate a professional athlete quite like facing your old team. Only in this case, that professional athlete is one of the most physically gifted pass rushers of the last 20 years. At 34, Peppers has definitely lost a step, but as we saw last week, he's still plenty capable of rag-dolling an offensive lineman when he needs to. And while Steve Smith's revenge game versus Carolina this week will be the more talked about, I wouldn't count on it being the only one with "blood and guts everywhere."

Body language

We've already seen Mike McCarthy give Aaron Rodgers the always terrifying, Dad Glare of Death last year. And while frustrations on any team during a rough patch will eventually come to a boil, I don't think it's a stretch to suggest things on the Packers this year have been...tense. A win this Sunday would certainly simmer things down, but another loss (especially a bad one) could give some clues as to just how invested (or disenchanted) players are with this team. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.