John Madden
John Madden
This should be fun
By John Madden
ALLMADDEN.com

The Outback Steakhouse Madden Cruiser is headed to Champaign, Ill., as the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears play another game in their longtime rivalry, and this one will be on Monday Night Football (ABC, 9 p.m. ET).

Matchup to Watch:
Quarterback Brett Favre and Green Bay's offense going up against Brian Urlacher and Chicago's defense: Favre's one of my favorite players in the league. Heck, he's still the best and he looks younger and stronger than he has at any point over the last three or four years.

Urlacher's a lot like Baltimore's Ray Lewis. They're both great defensive players. Not only is Urlacher a middle linebacker who plays with a lot of intensity and toughness, but he also has good speed. A lot of guys want to do things, but they aren't fast enough to catch a guy. Urlacher's fast enough to catch a guy, and then he's a good tackler when he does catch 'em. He's one of those guys who are equally as good at anything a middle linebacker does. If he blitzes he's a very good pass rusher, and if he plays the run he has very good instincts and he's good in pursuit and he's a good tackler, which I noted before. In pass coverage he's a very good cover guy, again, because of his speed. He's the real deal and I'm looking forward to watching him and Favre on Monday night.

Brett Favre is Brett Favre. He is the Green Bay Packers and he is what makes that team go. Having him in the game is always going to be a fun thing. He has all new receivers, though, and that's been one of the Packers' problems this season. They have a good record (3-1), but they really haven't gotten in sync.

I was in Green Bay in the preseason and Favre told me then that they had the chance to have the best corps of receivers that maybe they've ever had, with Terry Glenn and the other guys there. But they couldn't get them on the field. There were injuries and there was one thing after another. So Favre was having to rely heavily on running back Ahman Green. Until the rest of the receivers developed, Green was going to be his guy.

Green's a heckuva back and he's going to run the ball and, when they throw it then he's going to be one of the primary receivers all the time. Now, some of the other receivers really have to get into the mix, or the tight ends have to get into the mix.

The Packers' defense has slipped. LeRoy Butler retired and they really miss him. I think it starts there. Then they've had some injuries with guys like Vonnie Holliday being out. He's one of their best defensive linemen.

Green Bay's start hasn't really been as good as its record. But as long as Favre's in the game, the Packers have a chance to win. He's started every game for the last 10 years. That's amazing.

Warrick Holdman
Warrick Holdman, who was the Bears' second-leading tackler last season, is gone for 2002.
The Bears are starting to get hurt on defense, too, with some of their guys out. That's a tough thing with free agency and the salary cap because it's harder to really have quality depth. And when you start to play your depth then you don't have that depth anymore.

Ted Washington's out and he was a big part of Chicago's defense. Now, linebacker Warrick Holdman's out and that's going to hurt them.

Offensively, the Bears can be pretty good if they can get the ball deeper to their wide receivers. That really opens things up and they're really something when they do that. They have the running game with the A-Train [Anthony Thomas], but they have to get the ball downfield, too.

A year ago, they won the close games and now they have to go back to winning the close ones again. They've lost two close games in a row to New Orleans and Buffalo. Last season they found a way to win those games.


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