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Bears-Packers matchup of the day: Friday

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 23, 2011 @ 10:21 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

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

Bears wide receivers vs. Packers secondary

The Packers' secondary is one of the league's most opportunistic, but it's also prone to giving up big plays — Green Bay ranks 31st vs. the pass. The problem for the Bears is they don't have a passing game capable of taking advantage of one of the Packers' weaknesses.

It's hard to know what to expect from QB Josh McCown, who replaced the demoted Caleb Hanie as Chicago's starting quarterback this week. McCown hasn't played in a game since 2009 and he hasn't started an NFL game in four years.

We know he will be working with a receiving corps that had its issues before back surgery ended Johnny Knox's season on Monday. Devin Hester has been slowed by injury, too. It leaves McCown with Roy Williams, Earl Bennett and Dane Sanzenbacher as his likely top three receivers Sunday. There is no healthy, reliable deep threat for the Bears without Knox in the lineup.

The Packers will mix in different coverages, but they likely will play a lot of man-to-man Sunday. McCown has the arm to go deep and test Green Bay's secondary. He doesn't have the weapons to stretch the field, though, and the Packers' defensive backs shouldn't have a problem keeping the Bears' receivers from picking up yards in big chunks. Chicago will have to settle for shorter passes and, eventually, McCown could make a costly mistake, resulting in a turnover for a defense that leads the league in interceptions with 27.

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