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Players to Watch

Players to watch in Bears-Packers game


Larry Mayer and Simon Kaufman of discuss the Bears players they'll be watching on both sides of the ball in Sunday's home game against the Packers


Offense: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky

Trubisky will look to rebound after posting a career-low 33.3 passer rating in last Sunday night's win over the Rams. In his return to action after missing two games with a right shoulder injury, the second-year pro completed 16 of 30 passes for 110 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

"I didn't make the throws that I needed to make," Trubisky said. "I didn't do my job when my team needed me to do my job, and I know that I can play better. For me this week, it's just getting back to basics, having a great week of practice, putting that game behind us. The most important thing is we came out with a win."

Trubisky blamed his accuracy issues against the Rams on rushing his footwork, which led to him throwing off balance and off rhythm. He's spending the week in practice working on his fundamentals and hopes to bounce back against a Packers pass defense that ranks eighth in the NFL, allowing an average of 225.0 yards per game.

Trubisky enters Week 15 with a 92.1 passer rating this season, having completed 64.4 percent of his throws for 2,579 yards with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.


Defense: Outside linebacker Khalil Mack

Mack made an immediate impact in his first game with the Bears, recording a strip/sack and returning an interception for a touchdown in the season opener against the Packers. While both of those plays came against backup quarterback DeShone Kizer, another strong performance Sunday versus future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers seemingly would enhance the Bears' chances of recording a division-clinching win.

Mack has consistently produced big plays throughout the season. He leads the Bears with 10 sacks and is tied for the NFL lead with six forced fumbles. He's the first Bears player to reach double digits in sacks since 2014 when Willie Young compiled 10.0.

The Bears will need another stingy performance by Mack and his teammates against Rodgers, who has thrown for 23 touchdowns and one interception this season and 24 TDs and one pick in his last eight starts against the Bears. Last Sunday night the defense held the explosive Rams without a touchdown and intercepted four Jared Goff passes in toppling a team that had entered the game with the best record in the NFL at 11-1.



Offense: Receiver Allen Robinson II

In the Bears' first game of the year against the Packers, Robinson showcased why the Bears acquired him in the offseason, catching four balls for a team-high 61 yards in his Chicago debut. The Bears didn't get the win in round one, but it was a good glimpse of what was to come from the new wideout. Robinson leads Chicago receivers in total receiving yards this season, with 615 and is first in yards per catch with 13.4. Robinson has had five receptions in each of his last two games but hasn't gotten to the end zone since Week 10.

The Bears got by last week thanks to a defense that dominated the Rams in all facets. Against the Packers this Sunday, the Bears will need more production out of their receiving corps to produce points. A Bears receiver hasn't caught a touchdown pass from a quarterback since Week 11 against the Vikings. The Packers mixed up coverages on Allen in Week 1, but he'll likely see some more of cornerback Jaire Alexander ,who has been impressive in his rookie season.

Robinson welcomed Alexander to the league in the teams' first matchup when the veteran receiver took away a contested ball for a 33-yard gain in the first quarter of the rookie's debut, but Alexander has adjusted to the league well since then and has been consistently matched up against team's top receivers.


Defense: Linebacker Roquan Smith

Smith had the Bears front office giddy in his professional debut against the Packers earlier this year. The rookie linebacker entered the game at the end of the second quarter and promptly sacked Kizer on his first NFL snap. From his very first play the Bears knew they had something special in their 2018 first-round draft pick.

Smith checked off another NFL first on his list when he recorded his first interception last week. Smith's numbers speak for themselves: his 97 tackles are third all-time among Bears rookies, and he's just the third Bears player since 1982 to record at least four sacks and have a pick in their rookie season.

A few more tallies on the stat line would go a long way in helping take down a Packers team that has had their way with the Bears recently. Rodgers is 16-4 against Chicago and hasn't lost a game at Soldier Field since 2010. But Green Bay's offensive line has struggled to limit pass rushers this year. Rodgers has been sacked 39 times this season, fifth most in the league. Despite taking hits regularly, Rodgers has done a nice job protecting the ball with only one interception on the year.

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