Bears passing can put Packers on defensive

With their improvement coupled with rival's troubles in secondary, Bears can pass muster

If the Bears have any hope to pass the Packers, pass is the operative word.

And there is no opportunity like right here, right now.

Three hundred yards in the air should be easy for Jay Cutler and company with this group of gifted receivers.

They hung 314 on the Colts, even though they backed off in the fourth quarter. If there is any doubt this is a different offense, consider the Bears didn't net 300 passing yards in a game once in 2011, and they averaged only 188 passing yards.

These Bears are going to light up some defenses, especially defenses with vulnerabilities.

The Packers, meanwhile, remain at least as susceptible to the pass as they were a year ago, maybe more so. Judging by how they played against the 49ers, Clay Matthews remains their only consistent pass rusher.

And then there is their defensive backfield.

"Their secondary definitely has fallen off," one pro scout who has evaluated the Packers said.

Nick Collins was a standout at free safety, but he was released in the offseason after suffering a neck injury. Charlie Peprah replaced him in the starting lineup but had knee issues and was let go as well.

So this year the Packers had to move Charles Woodson from cornerback to safety on base downs to pair with promising Morgan Burnett. On passing downs, Woodson moves back to corner.

M.D. Jennings played safety in nickel against the 49ers but was benched after blowing a coverage on a Randy Moss touchdown and missing a tackle on a Frank Gore run.

Jerron McMillian, who is more of a box safety than a coverage safety, replaced him.

At cornerback, there also is uncertainty. Tramon Williams, who had a very disappointing 2011, is the solid starter. Opposite him, second-year man Davon House probably is the best the Packers have, but he missed the opener with a shoulder injury.

That left them with Jarrett Bush, whom Sam Shields replaced in the nickel.

When Cutler was asked about the Packers defensive backs getting physical with Bears receivers this week, he said, "Good luck."

Against the likes of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett, they are going to need it.

Comprehend the trend: Cutler vs. Packers

One problem with the Bears' hopes of torching the Packers secondary: The Packers have had Cutler's number.

In seven career games against the Packers, including one in the postseason, Cutler has a 65.3 passer rating — his lowest against any team he has faced more than twice.

He has thrown more interceptions, 12, against the Packers than any other team. The next closest is seven against the Chargers.

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