By Jeff Joniak-

(CBS) The Bears (3-5) face the Packers (5-3) at Lambeau Field on Sunday night. Here’s what’s on my mind heading into the contest.

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First impression

My first impression culled from conversations over the course of the week is that players believe the offense will spark once again. They believe the talent is too good not to shine, plus the adjustments made after the week of self-scouting seemed to have raised expectations again in the locker room.

“We feel we’re headed into a highly competitive game,” coach Marc Trestman said. “ Two teams that are very, very equal in terms of their ability to move the football and do the things they need to do to score, so you know we’ve got to do that.”

Second thought

It’s really asking a lot of receiver Marquess Wilson to immediately return and pick up where he left off on Aug. 4 in Bourbonnais. When he cracked his collarbone diving for a pass on a deep ball, it was only the seventh practice of the summer. Wilson made some terrific catches in training camp, beating coverage and flashing playmaker traits, but he needs time to get his conditioning and muscle memory back. I do believe Wilson is a skilled route runner, but he has some hurdles to clear physically before he gets worked into the mix.

Third degree

In 2009, the Packers ran for at least 90 yards in all but two of the final 10 games of the season to finish 11-5. Included in that list was a 32-carry, 170-yard game against the Bucs on that Nov. 8 and a 30-carry, 158-yard effort against the Bears on that Dec. 13.

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In 2010, the Packers opened November with a 35-carry, 138-yard game against Cowboys, one of four games with more than 119 yards and five with more than 91 yards rushing in the final half of the season.

In 2011, the Packers opened November with a 26-carry, 136-yard effort against the Chargers, one of seven games with at least 81 yards rushing in the last half of the season on their way to a 15-1 record.

In 2012, the Packers opened November with a 39-carry, 176-yard explosion at home against the Cardinals, one of seven games with at least 95 yards rushing in the second half of the season, including five straight with at least 113 yards rushing.

Finally, in 2013, the Packers opened November with a 29-carry, 199-yard outburst aat Lambeau Field in a seven-point loss to the Bears, one of seven games in the final half of the season in which they ran for at least 99 yards.

The Packers open November on Sunday night against the Bears, and my guess is Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy will again try to set the tone for the rest of the season by establishing the run.


I had a great conversation with former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes this week. As the third receiver, Holmes still isn’t the third option, given the excellence of Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett, but he remains positive.

His attitude is great, and he said he continues to go to work every day with the same zest he did as a young player coming out of Ohio State. We got to talking about catching punts. He explained how he catches each type of punt based on the rotation, angle and spin of the ball as it falls out of the sky. Holmes does make it look easy, cleanly catching the ball.

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Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.