The oldest rivalry in the NFL heats up in Week Three when the Packers travel to Soldier Field to face the Bears, as Green Bay attempts to stay undefeated on the season.
Aaron Rodgers heads into this game riding some impressive statistics. The Super Bowl MVP has completed nearly 71 percent of his passes for 620 yards, and has thrown five touchdown passes while not having thrown an interception.
Chicago's defense will need to step up if they hope to slow down Green Bay's potent offense. The Packers are fourth in the NFL in points per game (36), eighth in passing (295.5 yards per game) and 11th in rushing (113.5). Meanwhile, the Bears' defense ranks 23rd in total-yard defense (384 yards per game.)
The Bears' offense will be looking to rebound after putting up only 13 points against the Saints in New Orleans last week. Chicago managed only 246 total yards, and converted only two-of-12 third-down chances. Green Bay's defense, led by star linebacker Clay Matthews, hasn't fared too well, either. The Packers rank 30th in total yards (476 yards per game), and let rookie quarterback Cam Newton run wild on them last week, despite intercepting three of his passes.
Matthews is listed as probable for Sunday's game, but the Packers will be without Pro Bowl free safety Nick Collins, who is out with a neck injury. The defense will continue to have a void at linebacker with Frank Zombo sidelined. Young defensive end Mike Neal is still injured, which is a setback considering he was expected to have a larger role this season after the free-agent departure of defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins.
Many eyes will be on the Bears' Jay Cutler. The often-criticized quarterback started the season with a strong effort against the Falcons, but faltered last week, completing only 42.2 percent of his passes.
The last time the Bears and Packers met was the NFC title game. Bears fans have short memories, so it will be a boisterous crowd at Soldier Field after last season's 21-14 loss.
THE LINE: Green Bay is favored by 3.5-points
PREDICTION: This won't be the low-scoring game many are expecting, because the Bears have something to prove after a weak effort last week, and the Packers look like they can't be stopped. Both defenses are strong, but look weaker than they there were last year. Look for both running games to be more active than last week, particularly from the Packers' James Stark, who continue to impress. Rodgers should have another big game, but expect Cutler to step up, as well. The Bears know that a confident Cutler can take them to the playoffs, and offensive coordinator Mike Martz wasn't surprising anyone with poorly balanced play calling against a Saints club that loves to blitz. Expect an improved effort from Cutler on Sunday.
This game will be intense, but the Packers seem to have more confidence, and will bring their best against their NFC North rival.
PREDICTED SCORE: Green Bay 34, Chicago 31