A Look At The Numbers In The Trenches For the Bears and Packers

How did both teams fare in Week 1?

I try to be as objective as possible when it comes to the Green Bay Packers, because what is the point in being completely biased, even somewhat delusional, and thinking that the team at 1265 Lombardi Ave. can do no wrong? Accordingly, it is only fair for me to assert that the Packers laid a big ole egg last week against the Vikings. The offensive line, without David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, did not hold up well at all. Aaron Rodgers did not see open wide receivers and inexplicably chucked one up late in the first half that was picked off by Vikings safety Harrison Smith. The secondary allowed Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson to look like an 8th grader playing recess football against 5th graders with blindfolds on. I could go on and on, but you watched the game. You know how bad it was. However, Sunday is a new day, a new game. Against the Chicago Bears. On Sunday Night Football. A divisional game. A rivalry game that they have been playing since 1921. Oh, and if I may point out, the Packers lead the all-time series, 103-95-6. 

While the Packers played poorly in Week 1, the Bears, well, did not play poorly as they beat the 49ers, an NFC Championship participant last season, 19-10, scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half in an absolute monsoon. Justin Fields' final statline was not pretty in the slightest (8-for-17, 121 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 85.7 passer rating), but he was 5-for-8 for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. 

Speaking of the line of the scrimmage ... Chicago's offensive line graded out very well based on Pro Football Focus (PFF) and ESPN data. According to ESPN, left guard Cody Whitehair and center Sam Mustipher both registered a 100% pass block win rate, whereas former Packers offensive lineman and current right guard for the Bears Lucas Patrick had a 83% run block pass rate, good for sixth among guards. Patrick's Week 1 performance should not be a surprise; his 72% run block win rate ranked third among centers in 2021. Altogether, Chicago's offensive line had an 88% pass block win rate against the 49ers per ESPN, first among all teams, but its run block was pretty much average.

The Packers, meanwhile, ranked 25th in pass rush win rate per ESPN against Minnesota, though Rashan Gary was tenth among edge rushers in that category (25%) and Kenny Clark was tenth among defensive tackles in that category as well (17%). As to the Packers' run defense, avert your eyes.   

On the other side of the ball for Chicago, its run defense appears to be a work in progress based on the Week 1 performance. It was dead last -- by a wide margin -- according to PFF metrics and slightly below average (18th) according to ESPN metrics. The Packers' run block graded out quite well on ESPN, tied for third with the Kansas City Chiefs (75% run block win rate), but the same cannot be said when looking at PFF. Meanwhile, the Bears' pass rush was exactly average (16th) per ESPN and toward the bottom per PFF. It is important to note that head coach Matt Eberflus' defense never rushed more than four players in Week 1, per TruMedia/the Athletic. Conversely, Green Bay's pass protection was slightly below average when taken ESPN and PFF together. 

Based on the Bears' weak run defense, does that mean you can expect to see a healthy dose of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon on Sunday Night Football? One would think. Jones only rushed the ball five times for 49 yards against the Vikings (9.8 yards/carry) coupled with three catches for 27 yards (8 total touches for 76 yards) in 37 snaps, while Dillon registered 10 carries for 45 yards with a team-leading five receptions for 46 yards (15 total touches for 91 yards) in 31 snaps. Read more here from my Cheesehead TV colleague, Gil Martin, about the need to get the backs more involved. 

At the end of the day, the Packers have had the Bears number as of late, winning 11 of the last 12 contests. And looking even further back in the history books, in the 27 games that Rodgers has started against the Bears, Green Bay is 22-5 and QB1 has thrown 61 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions, with the last INT being in Week 15 of the 2018 season, per StatMuse. That is the last time that the Bears came away victorious. Will that remain to be true after Sunday night? It may come down to which team performs better in the trenches. 





Rex is a lifelong Packers fan but was sick of the cold, so he moved to the heart of Cowboys country. Follow him on Twitter (@Sheild92) and Instagram (@rex.sheild). 


1 points

Comments (2)

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Leatherhead's picture

September 16, 2022 at 01:54 pm

I think it’s a mistake to believe the Bears have a weak run defense. The SF rushing attack was led by their QB with 13 attempts and he paid for them. Samuel had one long run and otherwise had seven carries for about 25 yards.

The Bears looked pretty good on defense to me. I’d expect us to have a hard time with them.

0 points
Since'61's picture

September 16, 2022 at 03:55 pm

Rex thank you for an article about the upcoming Bears game. I was beginning to think that our blog was going to spend the entire season whining about the Vikings game. No matter how many players, coaches and management we blame for the loss to the Vikings in week one it is still just one loss in the first game of the season. The season is not over yet. We have another 16 games to go at least.

Moving on to the Bears game at last. it's about 3 days overdue. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

3 points