Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/13/12

The oldest rivalry in the National Football League is set to add meeting No. 186 to the ledger when the Chicago Bears pay visit to their NFC North rival Green Bay Packers Thursday night. The Packers have won the last four meetings and look to avoid back-to-back home losses in the regular season for the first time since 2009.

The Bears enter the contest with an impressive 41-21 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, while the Packers come in reeling after a 30-22 setback at home to the San Francisco 49ers.

The loss snapped the Packers 13-game winning streak at Lambeau Field, which should add fuel to the fire for this already heated game.

So without further ado, here is my three bold predictions for this early season clash.

1. Randall Cobb will have another breakout performance

The Packers second-year wide receiver/returner out of Kentucky set a career-high in receptions (9) and receiving yards (77) last week. Cobb's previous highs in both categories were four receptions against Kansas City and 75 receiving yards against Denver.

An aging Reggie Wayne recorded 135 yards last week against the Bears defense, with a rookie quarterback throwing to him, so the sky could be the limit for an explosive Cobb with last years MVP, Aaron Rodgers, playing catch with him.

Toss in the fact that top receiver Greg Jennings is questionable and Rodgers could be targeting Cobb even more.

2. Bears offense will get a strong dose of reality

Lets face it, the Bears are not going to light-up the scoreboard for 40-plus points a game every week. Jay Cutler and Co. are also not squaring off against the Indianapolis Colts defense. Yes, the Packers defense was its own worst enemy last season, but Clay Mathews still roams around and is a sure bet to wreak havoc in the Bears backfield.

It's no secret that Brandon Marshall will be the main vocal point for the Packers defensive game-plan. Although I'm not sure any defense has the ability to completely shutdown Marshall, don't expect the 6-foot-4 No. 1 receiver to have the same impact as he did against the Colts.

This game has all the making of a 41-38 shootout, but expect the defenses to step up and have the final word.

3. Cedric Benson will have first 100-yard game in Packer uniform

The former first rounder (No.4 overall) by the Bears in the 2005 draft, did not have a memorable Packer debut last week against the 49ers. The San Francisco defense bottled up Benson all day, limiting him to a meager 18 yards on nine carries.

The Bears may just be what the doctor ordered for Benson. In his only other game against his former team, Benson rushed for 185 yards as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. In that 45-10 romp at Soldier Field, Benson's number was called 37 times. Don't expect Benson to have near that many touches in this Packers offense, but do expect him to get back on track against a Bears defense who is still with an ailing Brian Urlacher.

In an interview from a blog on Packers.com, Benson shrugged off the idea of having another revenge game against the team that drafted him.

"The fact they (Bears) are a former team, you always want to do great, but that's not the driving force," he said. "Every week is always extra incentive to get the job done."

Benson signed a one-year free agent deal with the Packers in the off-season and is coming off three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in Cincinnati. A big game against his former team could propel him into a fourth straight 1,000-yard campaign.

Game Prediction: Packers 24, Bears 23

TRAVIS DAVID is a contributor for Football Nation and can be reached at tdavid021@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter @Tdavid_21.



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