The 2019 NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday night and what a match up to begin with! Week one starts with NFC North rivals Chicago Bears facing the Green Bay Packers under the lights at Soldier Field.
The divisional matchup between the Bears and Packers began in 1921, with the Bears winning the first game 20-0. There have been many fiercely fought contests throughout the years including the 2010 NFC North Championship game. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a 21-14 victory in Chicago. This will be the teams 199th league meeting, a record for the NFL. The Packers just have the edge over the years winning 97 games, to the Bears 95.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers also claims a winning record against the Bears. The third highest paid QB in the league has a 16-5 record as a starter. Rodgers was also instrumental in last seasons matchup against the Bears. In the season opener the Bears travelled to Lambeau Field to face the Packers. Rodgers joined the game with the Packers trailing 20-0 in the third quarter. He threw for 3 touchdowns in the fourth quarter to orchestrate one of the greatest comebacks in recent years. The 23-24 win over Chicago was the start of a disappointing season for the Packers who finished with a 6-9-1 record and missed out on the playoffs.
Aaron Rodgers vs Khalil Mack
The Bears boast one of, if not the best, defense in football coming into the 2019 season. The key factor to this is outside linebacker, Khalil Mack. The 2016 Defensive Player of the Year and 4-time pro bowler joined the Bears last season from the Oakland Raiders. Mack has transformed the Chicago defense into the most feared in the League. However, he will have to be at the top of his game when he comes up against fifteen-year veteran Rodgers.
Despite a disappointing season for the Packers, Rodgers was efficient, only throwing two interceptions all season. The matchup between Rodgers and Mack will be crucial to the outcome of the game. Rodgers led the Packers to an opening day win over the Bears last year. Whereas, Mack recorded two and a half sacks to help the Bears to a 24-17 win at Soldier Field.
Off the back of a Pro Bowl selection last season, and guiding the Bears to the NFC North championship, quarterback Trubisky will hoping to go deep into the playoffs this year. The linkup between Trubisky and wide receiver Allen Robinson will be a key factor to the Bears success. Robinson made 55 catches for 754 yards in the thirteen games he featured in last year. However, there will be one man determined to stop the threat of Robinson. Packers safety, Adrian Amos, was a team mate of Robinson at Penn State and will be looking forward to coming up against his former team mate on Friday.
The last two meetings between the teams have been one score games, with the opening game last year decided by one point. So, it could come down to which side has the more composed kicker. The battle to become the Bears starting kicker raged on throughout preseason with Eddy Pineiro winning the position over Elliot Fry. On the other hand, the Packers have one of the most experienced and consistent kickers in the league. With thirteen years’ experience in the NFL, Mason Crosby is number one in the Packers all-time scoring list.
Whatever the outcome of Thursday night’s season opener, it promises to be a fascinating game between two division rivals desperate to start their season with a win.
Last Five Results
16/12/2018 Chicago 24- 17 Packers
09/09/2018 Packers 24-23 Bears
12/11/2017 Bears 16-23 Packers
28/09/2017 Packers 35-14 Bears
18/12/2016 Bears 27-30 Packers
This NFC North guest article was written by Jamie Farrin. He’s a New Orleans Saints fan and you can find him on twitter at @jamiefarrin.
Feature Image Credit: NBC Chicago