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Packers-Bears matchup of the day: Friday

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's Week Three battle between the Packers and Bears.

Bears' wide receivers vs. Packers' cornerbacks

The Bears have said all week that they want to be more balanced on offense against the Packers than they were against the Saints, when Mike Martz called 52 pass plays and 11 runs in a 30-13 loss.

It's hard to ignore that the Packers are ranked 32nd vs. the pass through two games, though. Martz is going to want to test Green Bay through the air.

It's not all on Jay Cutler or the offensive line to get Chicago's passing game back on track. The receivers need to step up, too. Johnny Knox and Devin Hester have not done that of late when facing Green Bay. The Packers and Bears met twice late last season — Week 17 at Lambeau Field and in the NFC championship game at Soldier Field. In those two games, Cutler targeted Knox 14 times and he made two catches. Cutler targeted Hester nine times in the two games. He made one catch.

That's not the kind of production the Bears are looking for from two of their top three receivers.

Hester and Knox, smaller receivers, struggled against Green Bay's aggressive defense, and the Bears mustered only 17 points — total — in the two games.

The Packers' cornerbacks, Tramon Williams, who is expected to return from a shoulder injury, and Charles Woodson, who has been limited in practice this week with a sore foot, are highly talented. They're physical, have good ball skills and will play tough, man-to-man coverage. Knox and Hester are going to have to fight through a jam and get open in time for Cutler to get the ball to them. The Bears are expecting Roy Williams, who missed Week Two with a groin injury, to return. He has the size that Hester and Knox lack, and could be the target Cutler relies on Sunday.

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