Prime Time Against the Bears a Fitting Start to 100th Season

There's no better team for the Packers to play in the opener of their 100th season than their arch nemesis, the Chicago Bears.

It's finally week one of the NFL regular season. It's been seven long months since meaningful football, about eight months since Packer football and probably about 10 or 11 long months since meaningful Packer football. 

Needless to say, this is one of the longest offseasons Packer fans have experienced in quite some time.

But finally we're back. And it's the 100th season. Who better to kick things off against than the Chicago Bears?

By now you know the history. The Packers and Bears have met 196 times during the course of their rivalry, far more than any other two teams have played each other. They've combined for 22 titles and 65 Hall of Famers. The Packers lead the series 96-94-6, and the all-time score in the series is currently locked up at 3,377 points apiece.

But let's talk about the present. Fittingly, it really feels like the rivalry is entering a brand new era with the 2018 season.

Most obviously, this weekend's Khalil Mack saga has added another noteworthy chapter to this historic sports rivalry.

The fact that both the Packers and Bears were in the running for one of the best players in football and the Bears ended up coming away with him certainly adds to some of the fan intrigue of this weekend's game. More importantly, it adds a new element to the game plan the Packers were not expecting to have to consider. 

Assuming Mack plays this weekend (and Bears coach Matt Nagy says the chances of that are "pretty good"), the Packers will find themselves playing one of the top pass rushing threats of this era, playing under a new uniform and with a new motivation to prove himself, both to his new team that gave up a significant amount of drat and financial capital to get him and his old team that thought he wasn't worth his desired price. 

Only when the Packers play the Los Angeles Rams later this year and have to contend with Aaron Donald will they find themselves having to strategize against a front-seven defensive player in the same league of dominance as Mack.

The Bears also have a young new first-time head coach in Nagy, a young franchise quarterback entering his second season in Mitch Trubisky who still has a lot of question marks surrounding him, and a hot new free agent signing at wide receiver in former Jaguar Allen Robinson.

This is a Bears team that has a completely different face and makeup than the feckless, uninspired squad that John Fox routinely trotted out. They now have a mega-star they can build their identity around in Khalil Mack, the kind of "Face of the Franchise" player they've been missing since the retirement of Brian Urlacher.

Who better for the Packers to host in week one at Lambeau Field? 

Over the course of 100 years, there have been relatively few constants for the Packers. The Bears are one of them, and even as their identity shifts and new faces enter the picture, the rivalry remains as robust and important as ever.

Opening night is just six days away.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (47)

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GBPDAN1's picture

September 03, 2018 at 08:01 pm

Can't wait for Sunday night. Last year was so disappointing not watching Rodgers play. Now we have a new season upon us with a lot of new variables. How will our new Offense and Defensive Coordinators effect our team? How will Graham look playing with Rodgers? How dominant will D. Adams be? Will Cobb and Allison contribute significantly? What Rookie WR will take a step ahead of the others? Will the O-line stay healthy? Will our running game be effective?

Will King be the shut down CB we need and will his shoulder issues subside? Will Williams still play at a high level? Will Alexander and Jackson develop fast ? Will HHCD play like 2016 or 2017? Is Brice the answer? Are we ok at ILB next to Martinez? Will Wilkerson and Adams contribute significantly at DL rotation? Will Perry and Matthews finally stay healthy? Will Gilbert develop into a stud OLB?

Will we win the division? Make the playoffs? Go deep in the post season? SB appearance?

There are so many subplots on this team and for this season. I'm extremely excited to see all this play out!

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 03, 2018 at 07:57 pm

Who do you think will have a bigger impact on DL outside of Clark and Daniels, Adams, Wilkerson, or Lowry? I think Wilkerson even though he didn't show anything in preseason. If he wants another big contract he's got to show he's worth it in 2018.

Another plotline is what will the new offense look like the return of Philbin?

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Turophile's picture

September 04, 2018 at 04:24 am

I think Montravius Adams will surprise some fans this year - in a good way.

The Bears may have Mack at OLB, but the Packers D line of Daniels/Clark/ Adams/Wilkerson are a formidable unit in their own right.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:03 am

I'll go with young! I say Montravius Adams!

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The TKstinator's picture

September 03, 2018 at 08:49 pm

Excellent work, GBPDan!

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Minniman's picture

September 03, 2018 at 07:36 pm

NFC North is going to be wide open this year and the winner of this division will be a well seasoned and serious title contender.

...... I'm riveted already..... this is going to be "a hullava ride" - right MM?

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Lphill's picture

September 03, 2018 at 07:41 pm

I think Urlacher was more of a threat than Mack will be , maybe Mack will have better luck against a QB who is not that mobile like Cousins , I bet Rodgers gets mack to jump offsides during the game since he would not have had much practice prior to the game . Bring it Mack , go Pack. go !

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Minniman's picture

September 03, 2018 at 08:16 pm

The bears also have the rookie 1st rounder Roquan Smith and previous first rounder Leonard Floyd (he is injured though) so they aren't short of talent at the position.

If the packers win this game (and I think that they will) they shouldn't read too much into it as the Bears pass rush will be a lot more potent and cohesive come week 14 (barring injuries of course).

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Bearmeat's picture

September 03, 2018 at 09:09 pm

Urlacher was a factor against the run and pass to the extreme. But in pass coverage. Not pass rushing. He was a MIKE LB in a 43. He had the strength of some DLs and the speed of most FSs. He was a HOFer.

Mack is a pass rusher - plain and simple. And one of the best in the past 20 years. He also is very stout against the run. He may just turn out to be a HOFer too...

But this Bears secondary can be had if the OTs can hold up for more than 3 seconds on a routine basis. Here's thinking that Urlacher would help this defense more than Mack is going to.

If GB doesn't turn it over 2x, they walk away with a win. No turnovers, and it's a 10 pointer or more. :)

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croatpackfan's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:09 am

I'm with you Bearmeat! We must not underestimate Bears, but also we have no reason to fear them. At least not at the moment!

Do you know that last time Packers and Raiders were playing Mack had only 1 sack, 1 tackle and 1 assist tackle! That season he had 15 sacks! And that sack came from pursuit (he caught Aaron's foot while Aaron was running), not by winning against David in pocket! Packers won 30-20.

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lambeauleapin36's picture

September 03, 2018 at 08:34 pm

Looking forward to seeing Mike’s defense and what it will grow into this season! Same for the new look on the offense side!
GO PACK GO!

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PatrickGB's picture

September 03, 2018 at 08:40 pm

The Packers playing the Bears. Let’s get our interception machine going! Sure, they will have a good defense but the additions on our offense will be able to overcome it nicely. Slide M. Lewis over and get the passes out fast and accurate and we roll.

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Spock's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:27 am

Sure would be nice if the Bears' QB1 becomes the next Cutler against the Pack.

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SJ EC's picture

September 03, 2018 at 09:00 pm

Hard to believe the season is finally here... definitely looking forward to seeing these months of planning and preparation put into action. Even more added intrigue with the Mack signing, but if our offense is as good as it looks like it can be, I’m confident that we’ll start this season off with a win...

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Bearmeat's picture

September 03, 2018 at 09:10 pm

I think it's quite possible we start the season off with 6 wins in a row.

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dobber's picture

September 03, 2018 at 09:40 pm

With four home games and road games against Detroit and Washington, it's a pretty disappointing start if they aren't at least 4-2 after 6 games.

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Handsback's picture

September 03, 2018 at 09:10 pm

Talent difference is in Packer's favor. Keep it clean and run that score up, no way the Bears can keep pace.

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Samson's picture

September 03, 2018 at 10:06 pm

Not sure that Mack will have any affect on the outcome of this game. --- The play of AR & the OL will determine the outcome of this game.

The interesting aspect will be if the "D" actually looks improved (from game 1) compared to season 2017. --- The Packs success in season 2018 will be determined by two items: 1) AR's health --- 2) Improvement in the "D".

If AR stays healthy and the "D" slowly but surely improves, GB could sneak by the Vikes.

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Turophile's picture

September 04, 2018 at 04:33 am

You don't think Mack will affect the outcome of the game............but the play of the Packers O line (who will be the ones defending against Mack) will ?

That's real curly wurly thinking, Samson.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:11 am

David will put Mack is his pocket!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 04, 2018 at 10:10 am

Bahk c an't move around, but Mack can. The match-up is likely Mack versus Bulaga, and if that goes badly, Mack versus Bulaga/Lewis.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

September 04, 2018 at 07:13 am

Thought the same!

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PackfanNY's picture

September 03, 2018 at 10:18 pm

Flying to Milwaukee, then driving the rest of the way to Green Bay. Make the trip annually and I can't wait. Eager to see what Pettine will do with the defense. Wilkerson will be a big addition IF motivated. He mailed it in for Jets at the end. Young secondary with returning veteran Tramon will be much improved.

I am not worried about the offense. I'll trust that number 12 guy. He's pretty good. Can't wait for Sunday Night. Go Pack.

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Oppy's picture

September 03, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Tim,

This is really well written, and i'd assume at least self-edited. Solid writing.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 03, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Bears 24- Packers 20. Bears defense is in Rodgers face all night. Forces an untimely pick. Embarrassing loss. Ted's late era drafts continue to be exposed. MM finally finds himself on the hot seat.

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Oppy's picture

September 03, 2018 at 10:58 pm

With a new D and philbin back, i dont know what this team is gonna look like, but The packers starting ol is pretty good with extremely good to great tackles.

Again, it could go any which way.. but i think its more likely that the Packers win by 14 than lose a close one.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 03, 2018 at 10:58 pm

I don't know about that happening but I think it will be a hard game and that has me taking the 8 points.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 03, 2018 at 11:05 pm

Certainly a hard one to pick. I've read a few times that Bulaga is still questionable for game 1. If that if accurate, Mack is going to run over (insert GB back-up RT here) and thus, GB is going to have to defer to the game equalizing strategy that is MM's "short passing game". Bears D is now a shad from MN's, when healthy. If MT is anything near as talented as his initial season, GB is in for a knife fight to start out the season.

Props to Chicago for having the balls to get an elite defender.

Would I trade dumping Perry's contract and a couple firsts for Mack? Yes, in a heart beat.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 03, 2018 at 11:21 pm

We know Rodgers worse play is higher than any other on the team at their best.That is where my issue is with this team. They haven't shown much and the known starters have barely been seen even when being on the field. I don't believe they are ready,set and able as MM said or believes himself. Mack may not get a lot of snaps but when he does..he'll be coming.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 03, 2018 at 11:36 pm

Fewer snaps at key times may even be beneficial at this stage in the season for Mack.

The more I have thought about this season, the more I see another 10-6, sneak into the playoffs, lose in the divisional round coming down the pike. Too much talent (Atlanta, MN, NOLA, Eagles) in the NFC. That's without the inevitable dark horse (SF?). The good news is that it will put MM on the hot seat, three years too late. The bad news is that a playoff birth will not motivate the BOD to rightfully can McCarthy's mediocre ass. And thus, next year GB will be in the same position come January.

After 30 years with HOF talent at QB, two SB's will be rightfully seen as a massive failure in GB. Mike McCarthy will be playing a starring role in the film.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 03, 2018 at 11:52 pm

I live outside of the Packer media market. In these here lands, MM is not seen as anywhere near the top of the coaching pyramid in the NFL. GB and its fans are in a bubble. MM is mediocre (at best).

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:12 am

Packers fans do tend to dwell in a bubble where they refuse to accept that Rodgers is the air the team needs to simply breathe....as witnessed last season to extreme. No player can make this team a winner when Rodgers is out and that isn't just on the back up QB. This team played as bad as Hundley and contributed as much in every loss....they couldn't breathe on their own at all and even Rodgers cannot supply enough to get the SB. This team has some holes to fill and fast. Hope I'm wrong.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 04, 2018 at 06:06 am

I live outside the market too but I don't think McCarthy is "Mediocre (at Best" ) at all nor do many of my friends here in LA. I think and have thought for a while McCarthy is to damn loyal, so loyal it is a fault.

BUT kudos to McCarthy for finally making the changes that needed to be made, especially on the defensive coaching staff. Had he fired Moss he would have done EVERYTHING I'd have hoped for in the off-season but hey we're getting there.

I for one am happy McCarthy is still there but I think he deserves to be on a seat that's at least warm. But with the changes to the roster, a GM who FINALLY values size and speed, and a GM who's explored every avenue of roster building I'm anxious to see the results.

IMO McCarthy has been handcuffed while Thompson was the GM. With solid drafting and a few key FA additions (Woodson, Pickett, and even Howard Green for a season) McCarthy was able to guide the Packers to a SB Championship. Now with who IMO will be an excellent GM McCarthy and Gute are well on the way to a 2nd and possibly a 3rd before Rodgers hangs them up....And NO...I'm not in no bubble.

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GBPDAN1's picture

September 04, 2018 at 01:55 am

Point Packer, where did you read that Bulaga is questionable for game 1 ? He started in the last preseason game and played a couple of series. I isolated on him and he looked good. Did his knee swell up after the game?

I've been reading on a lot of different Packers sites and haven't heard anything about Bulaga being questionable.

If Spriggs or another backup tackle had to play, they need to line up Mercedes Lewis next to them on every play

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Spock's picture

September 04, 2018 at 10:19 am

What's the over/under that Tarynfor12's computer plays the "wa-wah" sound from the SNL Debbie Downer skits every time Taryn hits the "submit comment" button on CHTV? I'm going for the over.

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 11:08 am

Hopefully this season the Packers will play well enough for me to uninstall the " wa-wah " button....But I wouldn't bet on it.

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Spock's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:06 pm

Taryn, I hope you can uninstall that button sooner rather than later. Thanks for the nice reply. :)

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dobber's picture

September 04, 2018 at 11:04 am

I think 8 points was too many all along for week 1.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:33 pm

"Point Packer, where did you read that Bulaga is questionable for game 1 ? He started in the last preseason game and played a couple of series. I isolated on him and he looked good. Did his knee swell up after the game?"

I read it as rumored on a couple other GB reader boards. I think everyone is assuming he will start, but I can't find one iota of confirmation. Even if he starts, he's had limited live action, so at the very least, he's going to have some rust. And then there's the question of whether he can stay in the game.

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Lphill's picture

September 04, 2018 at 05:34 am

Point Packer , so Mack will dominate the game resulting in a win for the Bears? Who is on the Bears offense that is also going to dominate the Packers?

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 04, 2018 at 09:55 am

Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are the Bears best shots on offense. They bought their WR core to pair with a 7 overall pick that has been hurt since the moment he got off the bus. Bought a team's backup TE who's mediocre at best. Sent Sitton packing and didn't have a great OL to begin with. Their starting QB is inexperienced and threw 7 TDs in 12 games. Guess Point thinks Mack will be scoring the points for the Bears.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:39 pm

"Point Packer , so Mack will dominate the game resulting in a win for the Bears? Who is on the Bears offense that is also going to dominate the Packers?"

As previously pointed out, Chicago has the potential to have a real potent run game. No one scares you at WR, with the exception of Robinson. Ultimately my gut says that Chicago's defensive front is going to reek havoc on Rodgers, force a couple costly mistakes, some easy points for Chicago. Rodgers never gets comfortable, GB continues its pre-seson trend of having no run game and allows CHI to tee off on Rodgers at every snap of the football. Do you really trust MM to have a game plan to deal with a fresh Mack against a rusty Bulaga? I don't.

Hope I am wrong. GPG.

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Spock's picture

September 04, 2018 at 10:15 am

Packers 100 million+ man > Bears 100 million+ man.
The Packers DL interior is in the face of Bears QB and he throws 3 picks: one each to Jackson, Alexander and TW. Makes more sense then Point Packers analysis. :)

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Tarynfor12's picture

September 04, 2018 at 11:09 am

You need to make a trip home to Vulcan...you have loss all logic.

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Spock's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:13 pm

Taryn, I was going for "over the top" since I thought Point Packer's prediction was that way. Given that, I believe my "silly" prediction has a better chance than his of coming true, lol.

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Point-Packer's picture

September 04, 2018 at 02:40 pm

I hope so.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 04, 2018 at 12:16 pm

I just wish there wasn't the extra 7 hours of the offseason with the Sunday night kickoff. I would have rather had a noon start.

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