By Will Strome, NFLWeather.com, special to NFP
It’s hard to believe that Aaron Rodgers is 0-2 in his last two starts at Lambeau Field, getting drummed last week by the San Francisco 49ers after an early exit from last year’s playoffs when the New York Giants stormed through Green Bay en route to their Super Bowl title. And if it rains on Thursday night when the ancient rival Chicago Bears come to town, the Lambeau losing streak may continue.
With a 50% chance of daytime showers being reported by NFLWeather.com, game time looks to be a soggy one. As showers come and go over the course of the day, the chance of rain by game time drops to less than 30%. However, humidity will be a muggy 86%, all of which is likely to mean wet grass, mud and quintessential smash-mouth football.
In the opening defeat to the 49ers, Green Bay ran for a measly 45 yards on 14 carries and picked up only two rushing first downs during what turned out to be a clear but humid day. This could mean more carries for former Bear Cedric Benson against his old club. Benson had only nine touches for 18 carries in his debut.
Unlike the Packers, Chicago breezed by the Indianapolis Colts in week one with a 41-21 rout, ruining Andrew Luck’s debut. The Bears defense forced three interceptions while surrendering only one touchdown through the air. But against the run, the Colts’ Donald Brown ran for over five yards per carry and a touchdown. Unfortunately for Indy, the trailing Colts were forced to go to the passing game to keep up with Jay Cutler and company. Rain or shine, Chicago will need to tighten-up the run defense.
As for Chicago’s ground game, Matt Forte and former Raider Michael Bush had no issue splitting carries as each found their way into the end zone. Forte took the majority of carries with 16 touches for 80 yards and a TD. Meanwhile, Bush tacked on two touchdowns and 42 yards on 12 carries. Both backs broke a 20+ yard carry and have the ability to open up a slow, wet game on Thursday night.
Jay Cutler had six different Bears receivers with a reception of 17 yards or more, most notably, the newly acquired old friend Brandon Marshall who introduced himself to the Soldier Field crowd with nine grabs for 119 yards and a score. Cutler targeted Marshall 15 times. Should the Bears need to go to the air in overcast conditions, Cutler has the arm strength to deliver a wet ball through the humidity. If storms roll in, he can hand-off to the Forte and Bush tandem.
Temperatures look to be in the mid to high 40s with skies clearing overnight. Even after sundown, high humidity will impact conditioning in the fourth. Winds will be blowing northwest from 5 to 10 mph so the only element that should have a direct impact on the kicking game is the wet field.
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