Packers Periscope: Holiday Lovin', Teach Me How to Raji and More

In this week's Periscope, we briefly reflect on the New Years' Eve beatdown in Minnesota, remember how to Raji and more.

Well, that definitely led to a happier new year. In a must-win game in a house of horrors for the Packers, Jordan Love and, yes, even Joe Barry's defense heeded the call in one of the team's most complete efforts of the year. Love is showing time and again he's THEEE DUDE with more accurate throws, pocket prowess and the overall ability to dissect a very good defense and blow it to smithereens. And, defensively, I'd be remiss for not giving Barry his props. While it seems Minnesota made a bogus call in starting Jaren Hall, the Packers defense swarmed him in building a nearly insurmountable halftime lead. And, even with Nick Mullens taking over, the defense utterly dominated a Minnesota offense capable of being dominated.

But now, it's Bears Week for the whole shebang. The Bears are on a Packers-like late-season streak led behind either lame duck or Chicago quarterback of the future, Justin Fields and an extremely hot defense. Make no mistake - this is not the Week 1 Bears. This is a very good football team. But lucky for us, this is a much improved version of the Packers, too. Now let's raise up the scope and look at the past, present and future of the Bears and Packers.

The Past

With that Week 1 win, the Packers now lead the series 106-95-6. It's been a true domination of our rivals to the south for quite a long time and if that Week 1 win was any sort of indication, they've got another 15 years of sadness ahead of them. The Packers are on a current streak of 21-4 since 2009. Truly absurd dominance in that timeframe, and not even every Packers team was that good during that span.

One of those games, however, was a little bigger than the others. On January 23, 2011, the Green Bay Packers, a scrappy 6 seed who defeated those same Bears in Week 17 to even make the playoffs, visited Soldier Field in the NFC Championship game. The Bears, division winners that year, hosted Green Bay with everything on the line. Led by Jay Cutler, who actually had a nice season in 2010, thought they had the chops to get to a Super Bowl. But Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and a defense playing at its nastiest had other plans.

Opening the game with the ball first, Rodgers got going lightning quick in the frosted cold of Soldier with a fastball to Greg Jennings. Ultimately getting down to the 1, Rodgers naked bootlegged to the left and hit the pylon just in time for the touchdown and 7-0 lead. After trading some punts, the Packers were able to trudge back into scoring range, capping a touchdown drive on a 4-yard James Starks run and 14-0 lead at the break, after a couple late interceptions by each team.

Early in the third, the Packers forced a three-and-out. But critical to the game, Bears QB Jay Cutler was forced to leave the game with a knee injury and did not return.  On the ensuing drive, the Packers were deep in the redzone. But Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher picked Rodgers, saving the game at the time for Chicago.

After backup Todd Collins was hurt as well, third stringer Caleb Hanie entered the game. In the fourth, Hanie found himself a bit of a spark, capping a touchdown drive on a Chester Taylor touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7. We had a ball game.

But with it getting late early for the Bears, backed up against their own goal line, a zone blitz by the Packers led to NT BJ Raji picking off Hanie for the pick 6 and best touchdown dance you'll ever seen. The Bears were able to punch it in once more, but a late effort from Hanie resulted in a pick and ticket to the Super Bowl for Green Bay.

Truly one of the best moments against that team and one we'll always have. Thank you for your service, BJ!


The Present

The Bears enter the game at 7-8 in the midst of a nice streak after being left for dead. Offensively and defensively, they're playing legitimately very good football and are absolutely a test for the Packers. The dynamic play of Justin Fields must be controlled as well as star receiver DJ Moore. Those two have found their footing, and even led to Moore saying publicly he's lobbying for the team to keep fields.

While the Bears D has been much improved under the calling of head coach Matt Eberflus, this is still a unit that Jordan Love and the offense can conquer. With Aaron Jones picking up back-to-back 100-yard games, his ability to run the ball will undoubtedly help Love and the passing game. Per usual with this team, monitoring the injury report will be key to see who may be able to suit up. It'll be imperative to has as many guys available as possible.

The Future

3:25 kick Lambeau time, Lambeau Field, Green Bay. Meeting number 208 and I hope that's how many rushing yards Aaron Jones has. With rather modest temperatures expected in the low-mid-30s, it doesn't seem at this point we'll get a snow bowl. And that's OK. Let's keep the slate clean for this offense to keep a'cookin'. As for the Vegas look, the Packers are currently -3 with an over/under of 44.5. I'd say given the Packers's offense of late and Joe Barry's defense, we may just get a bit of a shootout. 

This game will ultimately come down to the continued evolution of Love, who he has at his disposal and what the Packers defense can do to limit Justin Fields and this offense. Turnovers come in bunches, and we've seen Fields provide plenty of those. Winning that turnover battle will be critical, and one I think the Packers can win. As always, I can't wait to find out.

And never forget... The Bears Still Suck.




Tony Wilson takes pride in journalism training from 2/3 of directional-Michigan MAC schools. A former Sporting News writer, Tony now focuses on the Packers from his home in Toledo, OH. His beer of choice is a Miller Lite from the bottom of the cooler. You can find him on Twitter @GlassCityPack.


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6 points

Comments (8)

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Spock's picture

January 03, 2024 at 12:10 pm

I remember the news the next day with a story on Jay Cutler out DANCING with his wife on that "bad" leg that night, lol.

3 points
mnbadger's picture

January 03, 2024 at 12:13 pm

I'll be wearing my BJ Raji jersey on Sunday afternoon. That and DD are the only two I've owned since childhood - Bart Starr, Carroll Dale and Ray Nitschke.
I wish they'd do a "where are they now" episode about BJ.
Retired young and healthy with an education and a very nice nest egg.
I hope he's lived a full and happy life, but I sure missed his prime year.
Pack 34 - cubs 20.

7 points
SonOfABadger's picture

January 03, 2024 at 07:22 pm

That's a nice selection of jerseys. Somehow my cheesehead parents only adorned me in Barry Sanders gear until I got Don Beebe in 3rd grade, followed by Cobb. I think Reed might be next in the collection--and no more Detroit gear.

1 points
mnbadger's picture

January 04, 2024 at 12:39 pm

Sounds like you were raised by a wonderful set of parents.
They didn't force their views on you but led you to a true GOAT. Who better to emulate than Barry Sanders?
Beebe holds a special place in many packers fans' hearts and "Cobber" carried the G with the best of them in his first run.
You're a lucky Son of a gun.
Packers 34 - cubs 20.

1 points
ricky's picture

January 03, 2024 at 12:27 pm

A bit off topic, but could it be that the NFC North is becoming one of the better divisions in the league? It used to be the Lions were afterthoughts, but not any more. The Packers were not expected to do anything, and have exceeded expectations. If Fields can be a decent QB for Chicago, they could also have a bright future. The Vikings? Depending on how much longer Cousins hangs around, they need to find and develop a QB. Which is easier said than done. Except for the Packers, who seem to have a real knack for bringing out the best in their QBs.

2 points
Leatherhead's picture

January 03, 2024 at 12:59 pm

My thoughts as well. The worst team in the division will win at least 7 games

I wouldn't give a nickel for the Vikings future. They don't have a QB for 2024, and they've repeatedly shown they cannot draft and develop a QB. Chicago can at least draft a QB, although they've screwed that up. The Loins did draft one good QB but couldn't win with him.

Chicago could trade down and get about 10 premium draft picks to add to what they've got. I'd expect them to be the second best team in the division next year.

2 points
T7Steve's picture

January 03, 2024 at 02:29 pm

Thanks Tony and Happy New Year to you too.

We have to win this one in the trenches. That's my past, present, and always, in the future.

0 points
4thand10's picture

January 03, 2024 at 08:44 pm

The bad news bears entire offense surrounds the run game. Between Forman rushing and Fields fake reverses and QB keepers…that’s basically their entire offense. There will be a token pass to Cole Kemet or DJ moore…but that’s just window dressing . Force Fields to throw by stopping the scrambling and running game and Fields will throw a few up for grabs. I think if there was a game to use and extra DL and spy fields…this is it. Fields is a run first QB…If they can contain that and maybe get a couple of Picks…it should be doable. We have speed on the edge as long as they don’t over pursue and keep Quay walker around the line to spy Fields . Anthony Johnson jr had himself a game on the back end last game….If he can trail Kemet , GBs CBs should be able to lock down the bears WRs in man. But if I was Barry…I say make Fields throw.

0 points