It’s pretty trendy to declare the Bears a “fake” 5-1 team this season. Sure, they’ve beaten two quality teams in back-to-back games, but the questions around quarterback are certainly enough to discount them as real contenders, right?
Not so fast, says Pro Football Talk’s Chris Simms. In fact, Simms thinks it’s the Packers who may be over-hyped.
“I’ve been a little skeptical of Green Bay,” Simms told NBC Sports Chicago. “They’re not a perfect football team by any stretch of the imagination.”
So does Simms think the Bears can beat the Packers when they finally square play each other on Nov. 29?
“I certainly do,” Simms said. “I’m not ready to anoint the Green Bay Packers king of anything.”
Simms thinks the NFL could learn how to beat Green Bay from last Sunday’s defeat against the Buccaneers. In a way, Simms thinks that game exposed the Packers’ formula for winning.
“They have to play with the lead, and that’s really their way to win,” Simms said. “You can see, when the game is tight, or even, or anything like that, their defense is not very good. They want to get you in a passing situation. Aaron Rodgers comes out early, and they’re up 10 or 14-nothing. And then you’re like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to throw the ball more.’ Then they’ve got some good pass rushers and good cover corners.
“But when you’re balanced like the Bucs are, and can run the ball and keep the game close, I think the Packers are at a severe disadvantage that way.”
Unfortunately for the Bears, they feature one of the least balanced attacks in the NFL, and struggle running the ball. Their 23.3 rushes/game ranks dead last in the league. Their 3.9 yards/carry is eight-worst.
That doesn’t mean the Bears are doomed. The Buccaneers fielded the first great passing defense that the Packers have faced all year, and they induced uncharacteristic errors out of Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, the Bears have the No. 1 passing defense in the NFL, and have thrived by forcing turnovers and giving their offense great field position.
Will the Bears have to improve their run game to improve their odds of taking down the defending NFC North champs? Probably, yeah. But a great defense is a great equalizer, and a timely turnover could be the difference in a close game for the division title.