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Opponent breakdown: Packers


Following a pair of impressive road wins, the Bears (2-1) return home to face their fiercest rivals, the Green Bay Packers (1-2). Here is a breakdown of the Week 4 opponent.

What's new: After years of carving up defenses with what seemed to be relative ease, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers suddenly looks mortal. He is averaging 6.8 yards per attempt while hitting 62.7 percent of his passes this season, both of which are his lowest marks since he became a starting quarterback in 2008. Against the Lions last Sunday, he threw for only 162 yards, one of the lowest totals in his career. Part of the problem for Rodgers has been the protection in front of him. In three games, he has already been sacked nine times, tied for third most in the NFL.


What's old:** The attacking style of defensive coordinator Dom Capers has changed a bit, but the Green Bay defense is still predicated on pressuring opponents and forcing mistakes, just as it always has. With Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers on the outside, the Packers can attack quarterbacks from all angles. This season, the team has lined up frequently in a formation with just two defensive linemen, five linebackers and four defensive backs. Peppers, who played defensive end for the first 12 years of his career, is now playing stand-up linebacker, giving him more versatility. Last week, Peppers had a strip/sack, giving him 119.5 sacks and 40 forced fumbles in his career.

Last time out: An early turnover set the Packers in a hole, one its offense could never climb out of, as Green Bay lost on the road in Week 3 to Detroit, 19-7. A fumble by running back Eddie Lacy was returned 50 yards for a touchdown on the game's first drive, a sign of poor things to come for the Packers. The team rushed for only 76 yards, while its passing attack didn't fare much better, with Rodgers averaging a mere 6.0 yards per attempt. Along with the fumble, Lacy was also tackled in the end zone for a safety.

Series history: Dating back to 1921, the rivalry between Chicago and Green Bay is the second oldest in the NFL. The teams have played 188 times, with the Bears leading the series with a 93-89-6 record against their rivals to the north. In 2013, the teams split their two meetings, with both winning on the others' home field. Green Bay's 33-28 victory at Soldier Field in Week 17 clinched the NFC North for the Packers.

Ex-factor: Four days after he was released by the Bears in March, Peppers agreed to a contract with the Packers. His move from one side of the rivalry to the other makes him a rarity in this contest, as he is the only player on either roster to suit up for both teams. Peppers played for the Bears from 2010-2013, starting all 64 games during that time. In his Chicago career, Peppers recorded 37.5 sacks, three interceptions and nine forced fumbles.

Injury report: Against the Lions, Green Bay's defense was on the field for more than 38 minutes. That led to fatigue, as two Packers – linebacker Jamari Lattimore and cornerback Davon House – left the game with cramps. Lattimore was in the lineup in place of Brad Jones, who was inactive against Detroit with a thigh injury. Matthews also was forced to the sideline after hurting his groin late in the contest, and his status for this coming Sunday is unknown.

Did you know?: Though he is new to the Bears-Packers rivalry, Jared Allen is quite familiar with Green Bay. The Bears defensive end spent six seasons with Minnesota, where he took great fondness in terrorizing Rodgers and company. Allen has 16 sacks in 13 career games versus the Packers, the most of any opponent the end has faced. He's also recorded a pair of safeties against Green Bay, and Allen intercepted Rodgers during a 2010 game.

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