Are you ready for Sunday Night Football? One of the oldest rivalries in the NFL takes center stage in primetime as the Chicago Bears head over to Lambeau Field and face off against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers lead the legendary rivalry, currently holding a record of 103-95-6 against the Bears. The rivalry has always flopped back and forth, but recently the Packers have been dominant, defeating the Bears in their last six matchups. However, for fans of the Bears, there is hope. Of course, this hope should only be held to a limited extent, because at the end of the day, the Bears are playing against quarterback Aaron Rodgers on home turf – a dangerous, dangerous territory, no matter the circumstances.
The crux of the matter is that, on paper, the Bears appear to have a lot of advantages. Last week the Packers were trounced by their fellow division rival Minnesota Vikings, and their offense looked completely disjointed. Aaron Rodgers was less than pleased with his wide receiving corps, which netted less total yards than departed Packers WR Davante Adams (another win for Bears, as Adams’s departure is welcome). Secondly, they are dealing with numerous injuries on their offensive line, with one of the best OL players in the league, David Bakhitari, listed as questionable with knee problems. He did not play last week, and he’s not all. Two other members are questionable, Elgton Jenkins (ACL recovery) and Jon Runyan (sustained a concussion last week), meaning the Bears stellar defensive line hosting the likes of all-star defensive end Robert Quinn could get to go up against at least three non-starters. The bad news for the Packers doesn’t stop there. WR Allen Lazard, the Packers best, is also listed as questionable and didn’t play last week. It is important to keep in my mind that all of these players were inactive last week, except for Runyan who sustained his concussion on the field. That being said, the Packers do have the chance at looking like a much different and more efficient team if all of their starters are able to get healthy.
The Bears have a much less bleak outlook to report. They won a hard-fought game last week in what has been described as monsoon-like conditions, battling the San Francisco 49ers in the rain. The Bears were very rocky to start the game, hosting an unproductive offense who struggled to get much done. However, after halftime, the correct adjustments were clearly made. The Bears looked like a team with much more life, battling back to steal the win away from the 49ers. That speaks well of the Bears, as the ability to adapt and persevere is always a must when playing the Packers, especially in Green Bay. Bad news for the Bears isn’t as rife as that for the Packers, as so far the only big loss is that of WR Velus Jones Jr, who is most likely going to be inactive Sunday. The rookie wasn’t able to play last week due to hamstring issues, and the Bears got the job done without him, so this isn’t really an unexpected loss. Nonetheless, everyone is eager for him to take to the field because the Bears wide receiving corps is also rocky at best. The Bears journey into Sunday with a young, growing offense and a defensive line eager to get at Rodgers and face an inexperienced offensive line. Additionally, Chicago possesses a young defensive backfield that has proved quite adept, hoping to get after the seemingly discombobulated Packers offense.
Sunday night will be a game of question answering. Are the Packers as disorganized as they seem? How explosive can the Bears offensive be in non-monsoon conditions? Across the NFL, many are still giving the Packers the edge because of Rodger’s incredible history against the Bears. However, there are some who have hope for the Bears, who are seemingly undergoing a new era of coaching and gaining a new identity. Sunday night delivers all fans a question: Who will win? The past – or the present?
Score Prediction: 20 – 13 Bears