We're Black and Blue All Over:
A week ago, the New England Patriots sliced and diced the Chicago Bears' low-scoring defense for 36 points in a romp at Soldier Field. Are the Green Bay Packers, who have the NFL's best scoring defense, in for a similar fate?
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explores that question as the Packers prepare for Sunday night's game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots lead the NFL in scoring (31.9 points per game) and have its fewest turnovers (nine).
Silverstein: "In some ways, the Packers match up better with the Patriots than the Bears did. They have a deeper, more talented secondary that can deal with the spread offense the Patriots like to use. They have a shut-down corner in Tramon Williams, a versatile slot man in Charles Woodson and one of the fastest safeties in the NFL in Nick Collins. A bigger issue may be whether they can pressure [quarterback Tom] Brady and keep him from being a step ahead as he so often is against opposing defenses."
The Packers are giving up 14.5 points per game this season. Something has to give.
Continuing around the NFC North:
There's little reason to think Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (concussion) will play Sunday night, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers receiver Donald Driver is 158 yards away from breaking the team's all-time record for receiving yards, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
The Bears practiced indoors Wednesday but will get outside at least once this week to prepare for Monday night's game at TCF Bank Stadium, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has proved this season he is still among the league's elite, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice doesn't want his return to Minnesota to be a distraction, writes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Detroit Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus had mircrofracture surgery on his right knee but is expected to be ready for the 2011 season, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Lions linebacker Bobby Carpenter could get his first start of the season Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News has more.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz lit into his team after practice Thursday, notes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Minnesota governor-elect Mark Dayton appears sympathetic to the Vikings' stadium needs, according to Jason Hoppin of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Vikings will alter their offense for likely quarterback starter Joe Webb, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.