Rivalry Time

Special Preview- Week One

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Bears: There’s always hope for a fresh start and I think this is the mindset that the Chicago Bears have entering the 2018 season. After four years of the John Fox era, he’s gone and Matt Nagy, the former offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs has been hired to be the new head coach of the franchise. I liked the hire of Nagy a lot because he’s a former quarterback himself and an offensive minded guy and I feel he can be the guy that can really help the development of Mitchell Tribusky and this has been a common thing we’ve seen with some new coaches coming into the league and helping these young quarterbacks take the next step. If everything can pan out, the Bears offense can be productive if consistent. They have a workforce at running back in Jordan Howard, a speedster in Tarik Cohen and in the off-season, they signed Allen Robinson. When I think of the Bears, the first thing that always comes to my mind is defense and as of late, they’ve struggled on that side of the football which shocked me under Fox considering he was a defensive minded guy. On Saturday morning, the Bears shocked us all and added a defensive star in Khalil Mack when they acquired him from the Oakland Raiders. The Bears had added help defensively for years, but it never panned out. This is the biggest name the Bears have had on the defense since the guy that just went into the Hall of Fame and that’s Brian Urlacher. This move made the NFC North just a bit more intriguing and on Sunday night, we will see the Bears open up the season at a place where they’ve struggled as of late.

Packers: For the first six weeks of the season in 2017, they were cruising to what seemed to be another winning season and a division title. Then, came the game against the Minnesota Vikings that changed everything. Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone and in his absence, they won only a single game of the nine he missed. They tried to bring him back later in the season, but he just didn’t look the same and the Packers would end up missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season, the first year Aaron Rodgers became the starting quarterback. We’ve already seen the difference Aaron makes because when he’s on the field, the Packers are usually penciled in to win 11 games and they’re the favorites to win the NFC North. During the off-season, I was stunned when they decided to part ways and release Jordy Nelson. However, they did give Aaron Rodgers a brand new weapon and signed Jimmy Graham to a three-year deal and this is where I think we will see the “New Orleans” version of Jimmy because his time in Seattle I feel put a dent in his development because he wasn’t used the correct way. For him to be successful, he needs to be operating in space. If all pans out, this could be the best weapon that Aaron Rodgers has had in his career. The only thing that’s keeping Green Bay back is the defense. They can score all they want offensively, but if you can’t stop anyone, teams won’t take you seriously. Rodgers makes his return against a team he’s had a lot of success against over the years.

Bears Player To WatchTrey Burton: He was on the radar of the Bears before free agency started and they got him. Over the years, the Packers have really struggled to slow down tight ends. I know they’re a difficult position to defend, but the Packers one of the worst at it. This will be the security blanket for Tribusky in this one.

Packers Player To WatchMuhammad Wilkerson: This was another underrated signing that didn’t get much attention. The Packers have needed a difference maker on the defensive side and this could be it. Outside of Mike Daniels (their best defensive player) and Clay Matthews (who’s getting up there in age), they haven’t really had another disruptive force in their front seven. He’ll be key in trying to limit Jordan Howard.

Final Analysis– This rivalry is so old that the franchises have respect for one another, the fans, not so much. You can never go wrong with a rivalry game to open Sunday Night Football. The first thing I’ll be noticing is Rodgers and has he changed up anything in his game? If he takes another hit like he did last year, they’re done for. Will Mack play? That’s the big question right there. I hope so because these are the games you want him to play in and the Bears have really struggled to put any type of pressure on Rodgers over the years.

Prediction: Packers 31 Bears 21