Bears-Packers: 3 matchups to watch


(670 The Score) For fans, the game this Sunday at Soldier Field is the biggest one of the Bears’ season. Even putting aside all the present narratives, a home game against the Green Bay Packers – while both teams still have competitive records – is about as important as regular-season games can get in mid-October ... so naturally they’re playing in the noon slot. Important note: It’s not too late to think of a new breakfast tailgate recipe or two. Important note 1A: Get a good night’s sleep Saturday. Less of an important note and more of just a segue: Keep these three matchups in mind when you’re watching the game Sunday afternoon.

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Packers WR Davante Adams vs. Bears CB Jaylon Johnson
It’s only obvious because every matchup that jumps off the page like Adams-Johnson is. Johnson has been arguably the NFC North’s best cornerback through the first five games, and with the Packers' Jaire Alexander – his only real competition so far – placed on injured reserve this week, the title is Johnson’s to lose. In his only career game against Green Bay so far, Johnson had an OK day, allowing only three receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown while missing three tackles, per PFF. On Sunday, he’ll get his first real one-on-one afternoon against Adams, who owns PFF’s highest offensive grade (92.4) among all pass catchers. Johnson has held his own against some top-quality receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Ja'Marr Chase this season, but Adams is in a class of his own.

Bears OT Elijah Wilkinson vs. Packers OLB Rashan Gary
I think there’s an argument to be made that Wilkinson had one of the more impressive performances of the Bears’ season Sunday, holding his own against a formidable Raiders’ front in relief of the injured Germain Ifedi. Wilkinson didn’t allow a single pressure in nine opportunities, per PFF – a much better performance (albeit in a limited sample size) than his 22-snap performance in Week 1. Now that Ifedi is on injured, the job is Wilkinson’s to lose. The Packers don’t have an elite defense – in terms of DVOA, they’re 17th in pass defense and 31st in rush defense – but edge rushers Gary and Preston Smith are both having strong years, respectively ranking 25th and 30th out of 106 edge rushers, per PFF. The Bears are going to go through pass-rushing hell against the Packers, 49ers and Buccaneers over the next month, so here’s to hoping that Wilkinson gets comfortable quickly.

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Packers QB Aaron Rodgers vs. Bears OLB Khalil Mack 
There are probably tons of stats and numbers and facts that I could dig up to make my point about this matchup, but the wonderful thing about it is that I simply don’t have to. Rodgers vs. Mack is typically great theater, and while this year sorta kinda looks like the start of the back nine of Mack’s prime, he’s still playing at an incredibly level and leads the Bears in sacks. If the Bears’ pass rush can get to Rodgers early and make a few plays that keeps the game close, Soldier Field is going to be electric for most of the afternoon. If Rodgers gets in any sort of a rhythm at all, literally any whatsoever, the Waldron parking lot might be empty by the first TV timeout of the third quarter. And now we’re adding those quotes about how Rodgers would never play in Chicago?!? And who cares that we already knew that?! I don’t. It’s going to be great.

Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Adam Wesley/USA Today Sports