Chicago Bears (1-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-1)
Thursday, 8:20 ET, NFL Network, Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan
Last meeting: The Packers ripped through the Bears 35-21 behind five Aaron Rodgers TD passes on Christmas night 2011. The Bears were without Jay Cutler (thumb) and Matt Forte (knee).
Salty Peppers: Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli put a hearty spin on the Bears’ defensive line rotation in Week 1. RDE Julius Peppers played every position, including 10 snaps at defensive tackle, opening alleys for DT Henry Melton and DE Shea McClellin to get to Andrew Luck. The Packers will plot ways to get the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hand with raw LT Marshall Newhouse (11.5 sacks allowed last season) coming off of a rough outing. WR Greg Jennings (groin) might not be available, but Randall Cobb and James Jones were targeted 15 times in Week 1, when TE Jermichael Finley had seven grabs and a touchdown. As was the case against San Francisco – and in 2011 losses to the Giants and Chiefs – Rodgers can expect to see a five- and six-man box, daring him to hand the ball to Cedric Benson.
Warm Cutler through cheese: The Packers are 5-1 against Cutler, but this Bears offense now features a few monsters on the outside: 6-5, 230-pound Brandon Marshall, rookie Alshon Jeffery (6-3, 220) and tight end Kellen Davis (6-7, 267). LT J’Marcus Webb (thumb) will need two good hands to keep OLB Clay Matthews out of the backfield. SS Charles Woodson has the right to roam before the snap, and with but one game at the position, Chicago has little game film to evaluate in preparation. Heaping doses of RBs Matt Forte and Michael Bush could exploit the Packers’ tackling, a glaring weak spot without Desmond Bishop in Week 1 as the 49ers averaged 5.8 yards per carry last week.
Need to know: Four of Finley’s 10 catches against the Bears in 2011 were touchdowns. … Cutler was sacked 12 times in the last three regular-season meetings.