Breaking down the Green Bay Packers opponent: Chicago Bears

It's a big week for the Green Bay Packers as they face the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. And to say it's a must-win would be an understatement because after losing to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the Packers are now two games behind the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North lead.

The Packers are facing a Bears team that is off to a very slow start. They have a 1-5 record and have been decimated with a number of injuries including QB Jay Cutler, WR Kevin White, RB Jeremy Langford, LB Lamarr Houston and CB Kyle Fuller. However, the Bears still have some have some good players that can get the job done.

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Here's a look at the Packers next opponent.

Bears on offense

As it was mentioned, Cutler has been inured this season and he will not likely play on Thursday. This means Brian Hoyer will get the start and he's been playing at a high level, throwing for 1,396 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions and he has recorded a passer rating of 100.8.

And what's interesting is the Bears top two receivers - Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White - do not have any touchdown receptions. White played in four games this season before being placed on injured reserve for fracturing his left fibula. Jeffery has been dealing with minor injuries but he's been able to play every game this year. He leads the Bears with 29 receptions for 487 yards.

Rookie running back Jordan Howard has emerged recently because Jeremy Lanford is out with an ankle injury. Howard has rushed for 330 yards and is averaging five years per carry. Other notable Bears offensive players are tight end Zach Miller, WR Cameron Meredith and offensive guard Josh Sitton and Kyle Long.

Bears on defense

It looked like the Bears were going to make huge strides on defense based the on the signing they made in the offseason. However, due to a number of injuries to key veterans, the Bears defense has not lived up to expectations.

The one player that has been playing well is inside linebacker Jereell Freeman who leads the team in tackles with 53. Freeman signed with the Bears during the offseason and has been one of the more consistent players on the roster. Outside linebacker Willie Young has also done well this season as he leads the team with six sacks. Young played in 15 games last year and only notched 6.5 sacks.

Jacoby Glenn and Tracy Porter have been the Bears two best secondary players. Glenn has recorded six passes defended and one interceptions while Porter has registered five passes defended and two interceptions.

The Bears are expected to have outside linebacker Pernell McPhee back soon as he in on the PUP list for having offseason knee surgery. The Bears are also looking forward to inside linebacker Danny Trevathan returning. Trevathan signed with the team during the offseason and he helped the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl last year.

Special teams

Everyone was shocked when the Bears decided to cut longtime kicker Robbie Gould who is the team's all-time leading scorer. The Bears brought in Connor Barth and he's not off a great start to the season as he has missed three field goals. Pat O'Donnell is the punter and he's averaging 42.8 yards per punt.

Deonte Thompson is the Bears top kick returner and he's recording 22.4 yards per return. Eddie Royal is having a strong season as a punt returner as he has one punt return for a touchdowns and he's averaging 11.8 yards per return.

Final analysis

This Bears team is not the most talented the Packers have faced, but they can hurt you if you make constant mistakes. The Bears need to find a way to score touchdowns and maintaining leads, two things that have been a problem for the Bears this season. If the Packers can play mistake free football and get to a fast start, then the Packers should be able to take care of a depleted Bears team.

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