The Chicago Bears come into Green Bay after losing last week to the Detroit Lions, who had lost 24 consecutive games on the road. After losing a tight one in their home opener, they are going to be looking to come out and play well at Lambeau Field.
This is the oldest rivalry, and maybe the best rivalry in the NFL. Regardless of the teams' records, and regardless of how the teams may be playing at the time, this is a great game for the fans, family and friends of the Green Bay Packers.
Brett Favre always steps to the challenge against Chicago.
Look for the offense to do what they always do, and get behind the offensive line, which is the strength of the team. They definitely want to come out and show the home crowd that what they did on Monday night was not a fluke.
They're going to control the line of scrimmage, protect Brett Favre, and allow him to take shots down the field when needed.
Right now, the good thing about the offense is that they are very balanced. Brett Favre only had to throw for 143 yards against Carolina. That just shows that the Packers are a run first team.
Chicago will probably show the offensive line a lot of eight-man fronts all game on first and second downs. What the Packers would love to do, and should be able to do, is get a lot of one-on-one match-ups on the corners with the wide receivers.
Look for Javon Walker or Donald Driver to get deep on a post, or even Robert Ferguson deep on a crossing route.
The play-action game, where Brett fakes the handoff to Ahman Green, drops back seven yards, steps up to five, and makes a big throw, will be very effective on Sunday.
One thing you need to do against a team like the Chicago Bears is to get up on them immediately. Once you get ahead of this team, doubt will set in, and they will have a difficult time getting back into the football game.
It would great to see Bubba Franks get in the mix in the red zone. He's deadly down around the goal line, as you can see by his 21 career touchdown catches.
Especially at Lambeau Field, the Packers offense likes to strike first and get out to an early lead. I'm anxious to see how the defense responds after a great game Monday night.
The Chicago Bears come in with Rex Grossman, a second-year quarterback, who has a very strong arm, even though he's not real big. Some draft experts thought the Packers might have been looking to pick him last year when he came out of Florida, but the Bears traded to get into position to draft him at #22 in the first round.
The Bears' offense is a modified West Coast offense, and the key is running back Thomas Jones. He's with his third team in the last three years after playing with Arizona and Tampa Bay in 2002 and 2003 before signing with Chicago as a free agent. He runs hard and has good speed and vision.
Their offensive line is big, and they like to maul you and lean and push. Without Grady Jackson in the lineup, the Packers have to make sure that they are heavy between the tackles. The Bears run a lot "iso" plays right between the two tackles and put man on man, body on body up the middle.
The two guys who will be replacing Grady Jackson in the lineup for the Packers, and it will take two guys to replace Grady, are James Lee and Cullen Jenkins. Lee is a real big body and Jenkins is a quicker player.
I think it will be a real good match-up for them to hold the strong point along the line of scrimmage. Chicago runs a lot of trap plays, so if they play well, the defense should be able to handle the run. These guys are looking forward to the challenge. Everyone loves a chance to step up and play a big part in the Chicago Bear game.
In listening to some of the talk out of Chicago, they think they will be able to exploit the Packers run defense, since the linebackers are a little undersized. I think the match-up with Bears center Olin Kreutz and middle linebacker Nick Barnett will be a very important one.
The Chicago wide receivers are a young bunch. They traded their top receiver from last year, Mary Booker, but David Terrell really stepped up last week to be their go-to guy. He catches a lot of underneath routes and isn't afraid to go over the middle. He's a big target. He doesn't have great speed, but is quick and has good hands and is a good blocker.
They don't have a whole lot of weapons on offense, but what they do have is a lot of people who will compete for the ball. The Packer defense can't take them lightly just because they lost at home to Detroit last week.
You have to win the games that you're supposed to win, and this is a game that the Packers are supposed to win. That can be the difference between having home field advantage in the playoffs, or not making the playoffs at all.
On special teams, it would be nice to see the Packers break a big return on a kickoff or punt, and maybe even take one all the way for a touchdown.
This is the perfect home opener for the Green Bay Packers. It is alumni weekend and a lot of the old faces will be back in town. It will be a lot of fun for everyone. I think this game will showcase the Packers talent, who I think along with Seattle, is the best in the NFC.
*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to Packers.com beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.
Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website, leroybutler36.com.*