Monday Night Football Predictions & Fantasy Projections – Week 3
In NFL Week 3, the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers in what could wind up being one of the determining games of the NFC North Division. The fact that we can utter such a thing about this about Chicago Bears team speaks volumes about how far they have come since last season.
When the Green Bay Packers have the football…
Aaron Rodgers – Quarterback
Through the first two weeks of the NFL season, Rodgers has been more or less mediocre. He had subpar game against the Eagles in the opener, and his game against Buffalo—well, it as against Buffalo. This Chicago Bears defense, however, may not be the thing to get him back on track. Chicago has looked quite impressive against the pass so far, limiting both the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys passing attacks to less than efficient performances, no matter the actual number of yards gained. Still, with an extra day of preparation, the Packers have more than enough time to prepare for the holes in the Bears defense, including Chicago’s questionable safeties. Thus, I fully expect Rodgers to put up solid numbers and produce at least 275 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns against the Bears.
Brandon Jackson – Running Back
Brandon Jackson was a complete bust in his first week as the Packers starting running back, and that was against a Bills team that is totally uninspiring. IN his 29 attempts this year, Jackson is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, and he has just 1 touchdown. He also hasn’t been apart of the passing game, having caught a mere three passes for 22 yards on 3 targets. Maybe all the fantasy football hype about picking Jackson up after Week 1 was as warranted as many had thought. Jackson appears to have trouble bursting through the rushing lanes in this offense, and his abilities as a receiver aren’t being utilized. One shouldn’t plan on that changing in Week 2, as the Bears have done a solid job of stopping the running game in their first two contests. So if you have solid options at running back, this would be a good week to bench Jackson.
Greg Jennings – Wide Receiver
Jennings may have the talent and the ability to produce like a #1 wide receiver, but in this offense, he’s not being used in that way. Jennings has just 15 targets in two games, which certainly is nothing to sneeze at, but when you consider that Andre Johnson had 15 targets in Week 2 alone, you begin to realize that the football is going to be spread around in Green Bay this season—much like it was last year. Jennings still could put up a huge number in Week 3, as the Bears safeties are as exposed as a naked man walking down Times Square, and so sooner or later, Aaron Rodgers will eat up that Cover 2 defense with a shot into the hole, a route Jennings executed perfectly against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago.
When the Chicago Bears have the football…
Jay Cutler – Quarterback
In comparison to Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler has been a beast so far this season. It has only been two games, but Cutler’s 325 yard/game average, his 5 touchdown passes, and most importantly, his lone interception, have the makings of a great season for this young talent. Give all the credit in the world to Mike Martz, who has coached this young fella up very well and has found a way to harness all of that talent that has gotten Cutler into trouble in the past. However, don’t expect Cutler to have a 300-yard game against this Packers defense, as Charles Woodson and company have been absolutely destroying teams passing games dating all the way back to midway point last season. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw come of last year’s Cutler seep into this game, as the Packers confusing defense could force a few turnovers out this guy. But the production will still be there—maybe not 300 yards of passing, but 250 or so with a touchdown is a reasonable projection for you fantasy football players out there.
Matt Forte – Running Back
What is somebody supposed to think of Matt Forte when he has 79 rushing yards this season but has 188 receiving yards? Well, do the words Marshall Faulk mean anything to you. Not to say that Forte is the next Faulk or anything, but that certainly is the way Martz is utilizing him. In fact, as a frequent Faulk owner in years past myself, there were plenty of games where Faulk did little on the ground but would have 70, 80 or 90 yards through the air. This is what Martz does with talented running backs, because it prevents teams from blitzing his quarterback on second and third downs. So while you shouldn’t expect too much from Forte on the ground, his receiving prospects are more than enough reason to expect a productive day from him in Week 3.
Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Devin Aromashodu – Wide Receivers
The Bears wide receivers aren’t exactly the Bruce-Holt-Hakim trio of 1999, but they do make plays in their own way. Hester has the speed to make this Green Bay Packers defense back off, which could open up the rest of the football field for Knox and Aromashodu, the two more polished receivers. Still, you can’t count on any of these guys to be consistent or reliable. However, one of them will have a big day and help Cutler do his thing. Collectively, I don’t know that they will have above-average success against the likes of this Packers’ secondary.
The Packers are coming to hostile territory in a game that could go a long way in determining who wins the NFC North. Clearly, Green Bay is the better all-around team with a lot success on both sides of the ball. The Packers typical edge at the quarterback position isn’t what it usually is given the way Cutler has played so far this season. If Cutler can step up and be the best player on the field, the Bears could still this game. However, the lack of a rushing attack plays right into the hands for the Packers defense, and that will be a very debilitating factor for the Bears offense as Green Bay sits back and probably forces Cutler into one or two throws he shouldn’t make. Thus, I like the Packers defense to carry the load and when a game that could turn into a shootout.
Packers win, 34-27
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