Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Chicago: Last week, the Bears showed their considerable maw fangs on offense by completely tearing apart Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts to open the season. The Bears served notice to the rest of the NFC North that they’re a legitimate threat to end the stranglehold the Packers have had on the division for the last 18 months or so.
Now that Jay Cutler has some bona fide weapons in the passing game, the Bears have a real shot at going blow for blow with the high octane offense of both the Packers and the upstart Lions. Both Brandon Marshall and to a lesser degree Alshon Jeffery proved to be huge commodities, regularly victimizing the Colts secondary in Week 1, with their eyes on doing the same to the Packers in Week 2. In this shootout, Cutler, Marshall and Jeffery are all good starts.
No unit benefits more from Cutler’s new found weaponry than that of the Bears running attack. Matt Forte is finding a lot more room to roam now that teams can’t stack up just to stop him, and Michael Bush will see plenty of opportunities to vulture TDs, much to the chagrin of Forte and his fantasy owners.
The tight end unit for the Bears? Nothing to see here… move along.
Good Start: QB Jay Cutler, RB Matt Forte, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Alshon Jeffery
Middle of the Road: RB Michael Bush
Bad Start: Any Bears TE
Green Bay: We’re just into our second game of 2012, and already I have to say the Packers are probably in a bit of a panic mode. They just got off a bad loss to the NFC conference rival 49ers in Week 1 at home in Lambeau, and now have division rival Chicago in town after they just pasted an admittedly bad Colts team. If the Packers lose this one, they’ll be 0-2; not just in overall record, but in conference record as well as at home. We all know it’s difficult for any 0-2 team to climb back out and get into the playoffs, especially one that starts out with an 0-2 hole at home. This is a game the Packers cannot afford to lose.
Because of the desperate nature of this game, you can expect at the very least a 300 and 3 game from Aaron Rodgers; in fact, I’d guess you’ll see something close to 400 yards from him as he’ll likely be winging it all day long. You weren’t considering ever benching Rodgers anyhow, but for what it’s worth, this should be a very good game for him.
And of course, if Rodgers is slinging the rock, the Packers receivers are all benefiting. Now, Greg Jennings likely won’t play (listed as doubtful right now), so that means you should head to the waiver wire and snatch up Randall Cobb (especially in PPR) or James Jones and give them a shot if you’re weak at your WR3/flex position. Both Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley should have top-notch games here as they make up for Jennings not being on the field.
Of course, if Rodgers is throwing the ball around a lot, that means the running game is fairly worthless. I wouldn’t go near Cedric Benson, especially now that the Packers revealed that they plan on using Cobb as their 3rd down back, as well as line him up in the backfield on other occasions as well. Think of Cobb as Percy Harvin-lite without an Adrian Peterson around; which means there’s not a lot of room in fantasy lineups for any Packers RBs.
Good Start: QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Jermichael Finley
Middle of the Road: WR Randall Cobb, WR James Jones, WR Greg Jennings (if he plays, he’ll still be hobbled)
Bad Start: RB Cedric Benson, WR Donald Driver