Saturday, September 25, 2010

Playmakers and Benchwarmers - Week 3 Monday Night Madness

This is going to be a great matchup. You’ve got one of the early season surprise teams in Chicago against one of the popular and sexy Super Bowl picks in the Green Bay Packers. Both teams will roll into Soldier Field on Monday night with identical 2-0 records. Both feature high powered offenses and while the Pack haven’t put up the yardage numbers the Bears have early on, the Packers are third in the NFL in scoring after 2 weeks averaging over 30 points per contest thus far.


Absolute Lock Starts :

Aaron Rodgers – QB : No Explanation really needed. He is a Top 5 NFL QB and you really NEVER sit those guys. Projection – 335 Yards Passing – 4 TDs – 1 INTs – 18 Rushing Yards


Solid Starts :


Bears :

Jay Cutler – QB : There are 2 reasons that I am not putting one of the hottest QBs through 2 weeks as a lock start. The Packers defense is one of the best in the league, especially at hitting the QB. Cutler has been sacked 5 times already. Look for the Bears to try and double team Clay Matthews to keep him at bay thus leaving Cutler open to the crazy blitzes the Packers like to bring. 2nd reason – Cutler just has not performed well against the Packers. In 3 games against the Packers he has completed barely 55% of his passes and has been picked off 6 times while getting sacked 7 times. He’ll give you decent numbers, just don’t expect duplicate results from weeks 1 and 2. Projection – 249 Yards Passing – 2 TDs – 2 INTs

Matt Forte – RB : Man is Matt the happiest guy in Chicago since Mike Martz arrived or what? You don’t think Forte starting drooling thinking about all the ways that Martz was able to get the ball to Marshall Faulk in his offense in St. Louis. Forte is a dynamic talent who has shown in the past that he was dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield. It’s just that Martz is taking that talent to a whole new level. Keep in mind he’s going against the Packers D and not the Lions or Cowboys when you look to put him in the starting lineup. Can they work a plan to get him past the blitzing LBs and safeties into open space? We will see. Projection – 87 Yards rushing – 0 TDs – 7 Catches – 85 Yards Rec. – 1 TD – 1 FumLost

Packers:

Greg Jennings – WR : Green Bay’s stud WR is off to a slow start so far this season. However, he is an elite talent and isn’t going to be kept down for long. Part of the reason for the slow start has been Green Bay’s special teams getting solid field position. The other part is the Packers keeping their offense balanced between run and pass. Look for Jennings to make a statement Monday night. Play him as a low end WR 1 this week because the Bears are the 6th worst team so far this year against the pass and the best thus far against the run. Projection – 9 Catches – 132 Yards – 2 TDs

Jermichael Finley – TE : I am trying to write this article and be as objective as a cheesehead can be. However, when it comes to this stud, I want to start doing backflips when I think about someone with his talent level going against the soft middle of the Cover 2 of the Bears. So why you ask isn’t he a lock? Brian Urlacher. That’s why. Yes Urlacher is in the “decline” of his career, but he is still one of the best LBs covering TEs in todays game. I expect the Packers to go 3 wide with Driver, Jennings and a combination of Nelson and Jones. Going against the Cover 2, that should allow Finley to work almost solely 1 on 1 against Urlacher and that could be a matchup where Finley’s immense size will come into play. Projection – 6 Catches – 95 Yards – 1 TD

Brandon Jackson – RB : Again, this is me taking off my cheesehead long enough to write this article. I like Jackson a lot as a fill in for the injured Grant. However, this won’t be the week he steps up and produces superstar like stats. The Bears are just too stout against the rush and therefore the Packers will run just enough to keep the Bears honest. That’s great for Rodgers owners, not so much for Jackson owners who rushed to grab him off waivers when Grant was injured. Be patient Jackson owners, next week the Lions make the trip to Lambeau and their run defense is weak.  Projection - 17 Carries - 93 Yards - 1 TD - 4 Catches - 41 Yards

Bench Them :


Bears :

Devin Hester – WR : It’s simple. He is not a #1 WR. He probably isn’t even a #2 on most Super Bowl contending teams. He is not the dominant WR that makes other CBs shake when they line up across the line of scrimmage. CBs have learned that if you bump him off the line and don’t let him get up to speed, it takes his game down a level. He is a speed WR. His best talent was as a kick returner and punt returner and playing out of the slot as a #3 WR. Projection – 3 Catches – 58 Yards – 0 TDs

Greg Olsen – TE : I really liked Olsen coming out of college. For his whole career I have found ways to draft him late enough where “when he breaks out this season, I’ll cash in”. Well this season it finally hit me. That breakout probably won’t happen in Chicago. Especially not with Martz running the show. He just doesn’t like throwing to the TE often enough in his system to make Olsen a playable option on a week to week basis. Green Bay has solid LBs and safeties to cover him this week. Projection – 3 Catches – 41 Yards – 0 TDs

Packers :

Donald Driver - WR : I like Donald alot.  However, statistically the Bears always seem to find a way to hold him in check.  That's the reason I am so high on Finley this week.  Because them concentrating on trying to hold the WRs down, will allow him to thrive in the middle of the field.  This week Driver will make a solid decoy and a decent #3 WR, but I wouldn't count on much more from him.  In any given week, any of the Packers WR can score though so we'll have to watch and see.  Projection - 4 Catches - 61 Yards - 0 TDs

Defense and IDP :

Start the Green Bay defense. Look for them to hold the Bears under 20 points and force at least 3 turnovers while collecting 3 or 4 sacks of Cutler.

Start Nick Barnett, Clay Matthews, Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher at LB. Nick Collins and Charles Tillman are strong starts in the DB field. Peppers is an iffy start. He has yet to show much burst so far this season and the Packers seem to be protecting Rodgers alittle better this season.

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