Have at It: Pass-rushers in Bears-Packers I


We're going to try something a bit different for this week's "Have at It." I'm going to throw some blood into the water and wait for you sharks to smell it and post hundreds of comments and drive thousands of page views and ...

Wait. I would never do that.

In truth, we are going to take a different approach this week as we ramp up for the "Monday Night Football" showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. We hit quarterback play in an expanded Tuesday post, and on Wednesday I would like you to consider this question: Who will be the best pass-rusher at Soldier Field?

Is it the Bears' Julius Peppers, who signed a $91.5 million free-agent contract this spring to provide elite pressure in exactly this type of situation? Or is it the Packers' Clay Matthews, who already has amassed six sacks this season and has 16 in 18 career games? (Check out the chart accompanying this post for a statistical breakdown.)

I'm going to use your responses as part of a longer post that should publish this weekend. A few points to keep in mind:

  • Both teams could potentially start backup left tackles in this game. The Packers might turn to rookie Bryan Bulaga because of Chad Clifton's sore knee, and the Bears might not have Chris Williams (hamstring). Peppers and Matthews have lined up all over the field this season, but you would imagine their defensive coordinators would seek out a matchup against a second-string left tackle.

  • Matthews is a linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Peppers is a defensive end in a 4-3. There isn't as much difference in their roles as you might think.

  • Both players were responsible for knocking out a quarterback in Week 1. Matthews' tackle of the Philadelphia Eagles' Kevin Kolb led to a concussion, while Peppers' sack of the Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford caused a separated right shoulder.

  • For what it's worth, the Bears' Jay Cutler has been sacked five times this season. The Packers' Aaron Rodgers has taken three.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. I'll compile a representative sample and publish them with some additional context this weekend. Have at It.