One of the NFL's best rivalries will be renewed tonight when the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau field. These two heated NFC North foes will rely on prolific passing attacks and a fierce pass rush.

However, it could be the running game and a key individual battle that will decide the the game. Here are three keys to watch, plus a prediction of the outcome:

Charles Woodson vs. Jay Cutler

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers moved all-pro cornerback Charles Woodson to free safety, to shore up a suspect pass defense. Well, the switch hardly looked like a resounding success against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.

That's bad news considering Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler has been revitalised by the addition of old friend Brandon Marshall. The former Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins standout, joins rookie Alshon Jeffery to give the Bears a lethal combination at wideout.

As a roaming free safety, Woodson should spy Cutler and attempt to fool him in coverage. The Bears gunslinger can be a little rash and will often believe his arm strength can force a pass through any coverage.

The Packers are unlikely to be able to match up with the Bears receivers on the outside. So Woodson could be the x-factor any time Cutler tests the middle.

Establish RB Cedric Benson against the Bears' cover-2 defense

Establishing running back Cedric Benson early, could help the Packers keep Chicago's defense off guard. The Bears still play a lot of Tampa-2 coverages and that means both safeties deep.

Tampa-2 teams often rely on a seven-man front to stop the run and can struggle against power rushers. Benson is exactly that, although he struggled against a 49ers unit tailor-made for a bruising back.

However, the 29-year-old might get on track against Chicago's undermanned front.

Use max-protection to keep the pass rush away from Jay Cutler

Protecting Cutler has to be the priority for the Bears offense. Despite their defensive woes, the one thing the Packers can still do is get to the quarterback.

They registered four sacks against the 49ers and the Bears have had troubles with their offensive line for a while. Using some maximum protection fronts could be their best way of keeping Clay Matthews and Woodson at bay.

The Bears have the talent at wideout to win in coverage, despite fewer receivers in the pattern. So they can afford to commit more people to the blocking scheme.

Prediction: Chicago Bears 24 - Green Bay Packers 28

Expect points in this game and if the Packers can protect the ball, they should be able to win in a scoring contest.

Aaron Rodgers and his receivers can still make plays against any defense. If the Packers can find some balance via the running game, Chicago's defense will struggle to cope.

The Bears won't be brushed aside and if they can keep Cutler clean in the pocket, they will move the ball at will. However, a couple of key turnovers will ultimately prove their undoing.

 

 

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