Comparing 2018 and 2019 Week 1 Rosters

The Week 1 opponent is the same, but the rosters and coaching staffs look different. See how the 2018 rosters compared to the 2019 squads. 

The Week 1 opponent is the same for the Green Bay Packers, but the location and rosters look much different than last season. New Head Coach Matt LaFleur will travel to Soldier Field with his team to play his first official game as a head coach in hostile territory. 

Let’s take a position-by-position look at each team and see how the 2019 rosters compare to the 2018 teams.

Quarterbacks

This is one of the few positions that won’t look any different in 2019. The only difference here is that Aaron Rodgers is now backed up by Tim Boyle. The Bears still have starter Mitchell Trubisky and Chase Daniel as the backup. 

Despite exiting the game with a knee injury, Rodgers posted a 66.67% completion rate throwing for 286 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions, good for a passer rating of 130.7. He also had one rushing attempt for 15 yards. 

Trubisky threw for 171 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Though he posted a low passer rating of 77.2, he did have seven rushing attempts for 32 yards and one touchdown on the ground. 

Trubisky enters his second year in Matt Nagy’s system, while Rodgers will see his first in-game action in LaFleur’s new scheme. That’s going to be one of the big storylines this week: how do Rodgers and LaFleur run the offense. 

Running Backs

Both backfields will look different in 2019, as both teams have departures as well as new additions. 

For starters, Packers running back Aaron Jones will receive a bulk of the backfield carries after missing last season’s Week 1 matchup due to a suspension. In 2018, the Packers’ rushing attack was split between Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery.

Williams had 15 attempts for 47 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 3.13 yards per attempt. Montgomery added two rushing attempts for seven yards (3.5 yards per attempt) and two receptions for 21 yards, in addition to two kick returns for 47 yards. 

Aaron Jones should bring a spark to the offense in 2019, though he has an unfortunate injury history every time he’s played at Soldier Field. It’s possible LaFleur will use him sparingly for that reason. In addition to Jones, the Packers also have rookie running back Dexter Williams who could see some carries against Chicago. He had an up and down preseason but really found his way in Preseason Week 4, which is something to build off of. 

For the Bears, their 2018 ground game was led by Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard. Cohen had five rushes for 5.0 yards per carry while adding an additional three receptions for 16 yards through the air. Howard had 15 rushing attempts for 82 yards and five receptions for 25 yards. With Howard joining the Philadelphia Eagles this past offseason, the Bears’ new running game features Cohen, coveted rookie David Montgomery, and former Seattle Seahawk Mike Davis. 

Both backfields look much different in 2019 than they did in 2018, which means this contest is virtually a toss up. Packers fans will be excited to have Jones back while Bears fans will be looking to see what Montgomery brings to his first regular season action after a solid preseason showing in limited action. 

The Packers also have a fullback on the roster, something that was lacking on the 2018 squad. Danny Vitale is a versatile option and provides security in the run game, the receiving game, and the blocking game. On the contrary, the Bears entered the 2018 season with fullback Michael Burton on the roster. Chicago does not have a traditional fullback on the 2019 roster. 

Wide Receivers

This is where things get interesting, though not a ton has changed in a year’s time. The Bears still have Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller as their starting trio of wide receivers.

The Packers are in a similar situation, returning Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison to the starting lineup. The one change, however, is the loss of the fan-named “Bear Killer” Randall Cobb who’s now a Dallas Cowboy. 

Miller was a name a lot of Packers fans coveted during the 2018 Draft. While he only had two receptions for 14 yards against Green Bay, Miller put together a strong freshman season that was good for 423 yards and seven touchdowns. 

For the Packers, Geronimo Allison looked good during last season’s Week 1 matchup, posting five receptions for 69 yards and one touchdown. While his season unfortunately ended on injured reserve, he played well in his first few outings and should do the same against Chicago on Thursday night.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow, Darrius Shepherd, and Trevor Davis round out a Packers receiving core that suffered a loss at slot receiver when Cobb departed. How the Packers plan to fill that void (both with Allison and Shepherd as slot receivers) will go a long way in Thursday’s matchup. Valdes-Scantling is poised to make a big second-year jump after finishing the 2018 season with 581 yards and two touchdowns. 

Tight Ends

Just like last year. The Bears’ tight end unit is led by Trey Burton. However, Burton had surgery for a sports hernia this offseason making his Week 1 status up in the air. Second on the depth chart is third-year player Adam Shaheen. Shaheen has four touchdowns over his last two seasons. 

The Packers return three familiar names to their squad in Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, and Robert Tonyan. The only new addition is rookie third-round pick Jace Sternberger who was reportedly in a walking boot as recently as Monday. Whether or not Sternberger makes his debut in Chicago is unclear. The starting tight end in the lineup, Graham, has a finger injury, too. It’s something he likely would play through, but it still leaves his status questionable for the time being. Fans are hoping to see more from Graham in 2019 than they did in 2018. Despite finishing the season with 636 yards and two touchdowns, only eight of those yards came against the Bears in Week 1. There’s plenty of room for increased production from this year’s TE core. 

Offensive Line

This is a big one for both the Packers and the Bears, as both teams are looking for consistency along injury-prone lines. Additionally, both teams are returning three out of four players to their lines. In 2018, the Week 1 starting lineups looked like this:

Bears - Charles Leno Jr., Eric Kush, Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long, Bobby Massie

Packers - David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Justin McCray, Bryan Bulaga

Both lines look similar in 2019, with the Packers only swapping McCray for free agent acquisition Billy Turner, and the Bears sliding Whitehair to LG and making James Daniels their center. 

Both teams have excellent pass rushers making the continuity along the offensive line especially important Week 1. Rodgers and Trubisky both are capable of escaping the pocket to extend plays. The offensive lines are going to be one of the most important units in Thursday’s matchup. 

Defensive Line

Akiem Hicks is the standout here on the Bears defensive line, but Eddie Goldman and Bilal Nichols are no slouches, either. That front three stays the same from 2018 to 2019, and will look to get after Aaron Rodgers just as much. Hicks had one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit, and one forced fumble in the 2018 Week 1 matchup. 

The Packers defensive line is the squad that will look different heading into Thursday night. In 2018, the line consisted of Mike Daniels, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Kenny Clark. Daniels had one quarterback hit and one sack against the Bears Week 1 last season, but he was released this past offseason. 

Clark is now the focal point of the Packers’ defensive line. In addition to Clark, the Packers are expecting Dean Lowry to live up to his brand new contract. Behind Clark and Lowry, Green Bay has talented rotational players in Montravius Adams, Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke, and Fadol Brown. There’s plenty of confidence from the coaching staff in their young linemen which is part of the reason Daniels became expendable to the team. This is probably Pettine’s strongest unit on defense. 

Outside Linebackers

Once again, the Bears’ linebacking core is almost identical in 2019. Khalil Mack is the obvious headliner here, supported by Leonard Floyd. Packers fans will of course remember Mack’s dominant performance last season Week 1 when he posted a stat line that included: one sack, three total tackles, one pass defensed, one interception returned for a touchdown, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. 

For the Packers, Kyler Fackrell is the only returning player to the outside linebackers room. This is where GM Brian Gutekunst spent a ton of money during free agency, moving on from defensive mainstays Clay Matthews and Nick Perry in favor of defensive studs on the rise, Za’Darius and Preston Smith. What’s more, Gutekunst spent his first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft on Rashan Gary, another outside linebacker with explosive play capability. 

While Perry did play very well in 2018 Week 1 (yes, believe it) with five tackles, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and one sack, Pettine should be able to get just as much production from Smith, Smith, Fackrell, and Gary. This is a position group that will keep the Bears guessing all night, considering all of the various stunts and blitzes Pettine can run with his new edge rushers. 

Inside Linebackers

At the risk of sounding like a broken record at this point, the Bears’ have the same inside linebackers starting 2019 that they did in 2018. What does that mean? Well, it means that their defense was already incredibly solid and there truthfully wasn’t much need for improvement in the offseason. 

Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith are the headliners here, supported by Nick Kwiatoski and Joel Iyiegbuniwe. Smith is a player on the rise for the Bears and was highly coveted coming out of the draft. In Smith’s first game against Green Bay, he posted one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit, and one sack. 

The Packers planned to start 2018 with Blake Martinez and Oren Burks at inside linebacker, but Burks suffered a shoulder injury that forced the Packers to look elsewhere and acquire Antonio Morrison through a trade with the Colts. 2019 has started in an eerily similar fashion, with the Packers hopeful Burks will make a second-year leap, only to suffer a chest injury during the preseason. Once again, the Packers took to the trade market and brought in inside linebacker B.J. Goodson from the Giants. 

The inside linebacker position in Green Bay always seems to be somewhat in flux, but the Packers have promising seventh-round pick Ty Summers this year behind Martinez and Goodson on the depth chart while Burks heals. Summers had an impressive preseason that he capped off with a 74-yard interception returned for a touchdown.  

Cornerbacks

The Bears are rolling with Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara to start the 2019 season, just as they did in 2018. They did have a few losses in their secondary this offseason, including Bryce Callahan who went to the Broncos to join long-time defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. In his place now is Buster Skrine who previously played in Cleveland and with the Jets in New York. Skrine played in 14 games for the Jets in 2018 and had eight passes defensed. 

The Packers are hoping their cornerbacks room can stay healthy. If they can, this is one of the most talented units they’ve had in years. Second-year corner Jaire Alexander is the mainstay of the backend, and third-year pro Kevin King has already expressed that he’ll play Thursday night at Soldier Field. When healthy, King is a difference maker for the defense. Behind Alexander and King, the Packers return Tramon Williams and Josh Jackson while adding Tony Brown, Ka’dar Hollman, and Chandon Sullivan to the mix. 

Safeties

This might be the position everyone was waiting for. Most noticeably, the Packers and Bears have swapped starting safeties, with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix joining Eddie Jackson in Chicago’s secondary and Adrian Amos starting opposite rookie first-round draft pick Darnell Savage in Green Bay. 

Because of this swap, both secondaries will function differently than they did in 2018. For starters, Amos has been pegged as a reliable, safe player on defense. While he doesn’t make a ton of splash plays, he’s always where he needs to be and doesn’t get burned by big completions. Clinton-Dix was just about the opposite while in Green Bay. He had a knack for being in the right place at the right time for an interception (he literally led the Packers in picks in 2018 despite only playing half the season), but he also would over-commit and give up a big play. 

This is one of those positions that might not truly have a “winner.” The Bears will pair Clinton-Dix with Jackson so the Alabama teammates can roam the secondary together. That might be a serviceable role for Clinton-Dix in Chicago.

In Green Bay, both starting safeties are brand new, with Darnell Savage projected to be the playmaking thumper and Adrian Amos expected to be the reliable veteran mainstay on the backend. It’s entirely plausible that both secondaries look better after this unintentional swap, and a lot of that comes down to defensive fit. New Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano may utilize Clinton-Dix differently than Pettine did in Green Bay, and that’s okay. 

One thing is certain, though. The Packers have a much-improved safety room going into 2019 with Amos, Savage, Greene, and Redmond than they did entering 2018 with Clinton-Dix, Kentrell Brice, Josh Jones, Jermaine Whitehead, and Greene.  

Coaching Staff

This is something Packers fans will be dying to see on Thursday night. How does Matt LaFleur stack up against Matt Nagy? It’s not just the Packers’ head coach that changed, either. The team also has a brand new offensive coordinator in Nathaniel Hackett, multiple new position coaches, including quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, and a brand new special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is one of the only familiar faces the Bears will recognize in 2019.

For the Bears, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio left to coach the Denver Broncos. He’s replaced by Chuck Pagano who’s been a defensive coach for most of his career. The defensive mainstays are all the same, so how Pagano utilizes them in Fangio’s absence will be something to watch for Week 1. 

The dynamics here are going to be interesting given there isn’t much new tape on any coach. While the Bears can study LaFleur’s time with the Los Angeles Rams and the Tennessee Titans, possibly even giving Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay a look given they share a coaching tree,  that’s only part of the offense LaFleur will implement in Green Bay. 

 

While there are plenty of new additions to both teams entering Week 1, the big name players remain the same. The Packers still have Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and an offense loaded with big-play potential. The Bears still have Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and a dominant defense. As players and coaches change, the one constant is that this is without a shadow of a doubt, the NFL’s oldest and best rivalry. Thursday will be the 199th game between the two teams, with the Packers holding a 97-95-6 edge in the series.

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (31)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 03, 2019 at 03:43 pm

Packers Bears week is the best.

Is it Thursday yet?

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Coldworld's picture

September 03, 2019 at 04:37 pm

Minus one Sternberger, plus one Lazard.

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GBPDAN1's picture

September 03, 2019 at 05:03 pm

Ya, I just heard the news about Jace Sternberger. Bummer. Good to have Lazard bumped up to the 53 though. Hoping for a victory this Thursday and no injuries. Then 10 days to get ready for the Queens . Go Pack

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 03, 2019 at 07:42 pm

This is a great move!

Sternberger IMHO opinion needs a solid year of muscle building and the IR will allow him that opportunity. He just does not appear to yet have the physique he needs to survive the NFL. I believe it is for his own good and he will come back better for it.

I am high on Lazard and believe he will reward the Packers and particularly on ST's this year. All around a positive for the Pack. I'm hoping before season is out Baylis gets a call up. Believe he has a decently high ceiling.

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Hematite's picture

September 04, 2019 at 05:25 am

My thoughts exactly!

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Slim11's picture

September 04, 2019 at 09:48 am

Not surprised by the transition to the NFL having a negative effect on Sternberger. His college career was erratic.

He played one year at Kansas(?), then transferred to a community college in Oklahoma. There, he was "discovered" by some Texas A&M scouts and they brought him to College Station. He did have one good season at A&M.

His first two years of college ball were special teams combined with spot duty at TE. The second season, at the community college, didn't produce great numbers. At A&M, his receptions tripled and the yardage more than doubled. That was done with a marginal QB, Kellen Mond, throwing the ball.

Sternberger needs to (1) heal, (2) add some muscle weight and (3) stay mentally involved during his time on IR. He has the athleticism for the NFL but needs the stamina and additional weight training.

While I like Lazard, I wonder if bringing Bayliss up might have been a better move.

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ricky's picture

September 03, 2019 at 04:40 pm

The Bears still suck.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

September 03, 2019 at 05:42 pm

Yes

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MITM's picture

September 03, 2019 at 05:20 pm

very happy we didnt lose Lazard

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 03, 2019 at 07:42 pm

Ditto!

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Since'61's picture

September 03, 2019 at 05:53 pm

The Bears May have the better defense but the Packers have better offensive weapons.

I’m expecting (hoping) the Packers revised defense will hold down the Bears offense, while Rodgers and the offense can generate enough offense to take the victory. Packers 26 - 16. Go Pack Go.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Lare's picture

September 03, 2019 at 06:07 pm

I just hope it doesn't come down to a Mason Crosby field goal.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 03, 2019 at 06:37 pm

It will and he will get it done.

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Since'61's picture

September 03, 2019 at 07:16 pm

Lare - I have confidence in Crosby. He’s been clutch for us in the past. Weather could be a factor. You never know in Chicago. Thanks, Since ‘61

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croatpackfan's picture

September 04, 2019 at 08:15 am

Lately, Mason have one good than one terrible year, four years in the row. Last season was good (or, to say, satisfactory?). What kind of year Mason will have this season is very unpredictable...

Lets hope I'm wrong and he will shut my mouth with his performance.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 03, 2019 at 07:46 pm

My hope is Aaron Jones doesnt blow a knee on the Soldier Field turf. Some of the best Packer running backs of all time have ruined their knees at Soldier field. All the way back to Eddie Lee Ivory two years in a row. His rookie and Sophomore seasons which ruined such a promising career. Our own Aaron Jones!

I have become paranoid as a result I guess!

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GVPacker's picture

September 03, 2019 at 08:22 pm

Yes the Bears Suck, always have and always will!

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Qoojo's picture

September 03, 2019 at 09:22 pm

Kind of expect missed tackles, bad angles, and blown coverages by Clinton-Dix, at least 1 of each, as he gambles trying to get revenge.

I expect much better protection for Rodgers, and if an Olineman is having issues, it doesn't take a whole half, or never, to get the guy some help.

I don't have high expectations given the lack of actual real game practice this preseason. I know they say team practice is better than the preseason games, but I am not buying until I see it. If it works out, then we will probably never see another starter in a preseason game.

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albert999's picture

September 03, 2019 at 10:18 pm

now savage is keeping 26
WTF?

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ShooterMcGee's picture

September 04, 2019 at 01:09 am

I just wonder how the Pack will get screwed by the new PI rule in this game. Rodgers will throw an apparent game winning touchdown which the Bears will challenge and gets reversed. Or the Bears try a hail Mary at the end, it falls incomplete, but wait the Bears challenge and PI is called. Ugh...it has happened too many times it seems.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 04, 2019 at 02:21 am

I am expecting AR to pick on Skrine. Though I like Allison in the slot, I am thinking that Shepherd might be as good or a better match-up against Skrine.

Sternberger going on IR is a bummer. Promoting Lazard is interesting to me. I never got the Lazard-Love, but I recognize that I am practically alone in my position on Lazard. The authors, film guys, and the bulk of the board here on CHTV and other sites love the guy. Perhaps we will find out now.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 04, 2019 at 08:17 am

I'm with you TGR. For me Lazard looks like JAG, but I respect expert opinions (from Packers coaching staff and personnel department). Maybe Lazard is JAG at the moment, but have high upside (I hope so!).

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Coldworld's picture

September 04, 2019 at 09:27 am

Very good special teamer. Does many of the things Crawford did. In my view that’s what this is driven by, not so much by his receiving. Sternberger wasn’t likely to get a lot of snaps early on, maybe all season without injury intervention. Lazard may not get many either, but he will likely be active for ST from the get go.

My guess is that it would be at Kumerow’s expense though. Davis is returning, Shepherd is injured. I see Davis and Lazard conceivably being the depth. Not sure I like it, but I don’t thing 6 WRs will be active.

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Leatherhead's picture

September 04, 2019 at 10:32 am

Not a single team wanted Lazard when he was on waivers. Not one.

I would submit that the WRs who will catch passes in Green Bay in the remaining years of Rodgers career are already on the roster.

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dobber's picture

September 04, 2019 at 11:11 am

Shepherd has been a DNP in practice this week. I expect him to be inactive.

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ReaganRulz's picture

September 04, 2019 at 06:32 am

Team attitude is another category that could be mentioned here. Prior to last year, the Bears did not have confidence playing the Packers. They always felt that ARodgers would find a way to beat them (some Bear fans still believe this). But adding Mack last year just changed their entire team attitude. They feel like they can and will be beat the Packers tomorrow. I live in Chicagoland and this is the vibe while talking to a ton of Bear fans. The Packers just need to be patient, play to their strengths, and manage any weaknesses - Captain Obvious here.

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greengold's picture

September 04, 2019 at 08:03 am

Packers are going to win this in a runaway game. Rodgers, along with all of his weapons at WR, TE, RB is going to light Ha-Ha up like a Christmas tree.... I can already see Danny Vitale running right through Ha-Ha on an outlet pass for a score.

Our front 7 is going to crush Trubisky, and they all are good vs. the run. Green Bay's secondary is going to have a pick party.

There will be a beautiful glow in the southern horizon tomorrow night from the massive fireball we are about to unleash on Chicago. Christmas in September for the Packers.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 04, 2019 at 08:40 am

You predict that the Packers are going to win. Did I miss your name on the CHTV Pick Em? You can still join but you need to do it today (oops, needs an edit: I should have written tomorrow) and by the start of the Packers game at 7:20 PM central time. Go to ESPN Pick Em, input the group name (CHTV Pick Em). You will need to know the password for the group - it is Packers Win - to enter. Everyone is welcome!

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greengold's picture

September 04, 2019 at 08:01 am

Thank you bud! Just hammered that out. Should be fun.

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greengold's picture

September 04, 2019 at 08:07 am

That was a great breakdown, Maggie! Thanks!

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JohnnyLogan's picture

September 04, 2019 at 02:49 pm

Packers have a lot of offensive weapons, good OL and Rodgers. Bears have questionable receivers, rookie running back and Tribusty. We win that comparison. Packers now have Amos. Bears have HaHa. We win that exchange. Okay, they have other weapons on D but I hope MLF has heard of Belicheat who knows to attack the other team's weakest link. Keep sending people at HaHa til they have to pull him from the game. Packers 31-13

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