Soak up the history, everyone – we probably won’t live to see another centennial kickoff!
The Packers and Bears kicked off last season with an amazing game and we can only hope for the same this year as the greatest rivalry in sports history kicks off the 100th season of NFL football.
Here’s what to look for:
New Look Packers Offense
The Packers have a healthy Aaron Rodgers with a new-look offense from well-respected first-time head coach Matt LaFleur.
What are we expecting?
We don’t know who WR2 will be, we don’t know how Tight Ends and Fullbacks will be used in the new offense (though we can guess that it will be different than last year), we don’t know how the offense line will mesh.
We know nothing!
… and neither do the Bears. 😉
Keeping Rodgers out of the preseason not only kept him healthy, but also ensured that no opponents – especially on week one – would have any film to scout.
Bombs away with five receivers? We can do that! Three tight end sets? Sure! Seven jet sweeps? Why not!? Fullback option? Everything is on the table and no one knows what to expect.
There’s always some growing pains when a new offensive scheme is implemented, but having a guy like Aaron Rodgers can mask most of that while maximizing the effect of unscouted looks. If the defense hesitates on something they haven’t seen before, 12 will make them pay.
This may be the most excited I’ve ever been to see the Packers offense and I have no idea what to expect.
Prediction: The offense goes bananas.
New Look Packers Defense
We were pretty lucky to see the Packers defense cobble together some pressure last year based on Mike Pettine’s new scheme. Year two should see a new level as the full install is unleashed.
Couple that with new additions including Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, and Rashan Gary, plus a return to health from Kevin King and a career renaissance from Montravious Adams, and the future is looking bright.
However, much like the offense, we have no idea what to expect from the defense.
The new guys didn’t play much and the scheme was certainly vanilla. Just like on offense, we don’t know what to expect from the defense.
Prediction: The defense focuses on stacking up the Bears multi-faceted run game, while leaning on speed to cover Trubisky’s passes (Savage: 4.36, Amos: 4.37, Jaire: 4.38, Brown: 4.35, Hollman: 4.39, King: 4,43).
I’m a well-known Mitch Trubisky non-believer. However, I think the Bears could build a borderline dominant ground game around David Montgomery. I don’t think this will start week one, but the Bears also have Tarik Cohen to form a great mixed-skill duo. This type of clock-eating ground game could really complement Trubisky.
On defense, the Bears are still great, but they lost a couple guys and are implementing a new flavor of their scheme. Last year’s results will be tough to match, given how healthy they stayed and how many turnovers they generated. The group really has nowhere to go but down from the #1 ranking.
I’m sure they have some surprises in store for week one, too, though.
- HaHa Clinton-Dix gets a big splash play and an epic blunder
- The Packers speedy secondary finally picks off Mitch Trubisky
- Aaron Rodgers calls an audible
- David Montgomery makes his presence known in spot duty
- David Bakhtiari neutralizes whoever dares line up across from him
- No missed field goals on either side
- Packers backs and tight ends combine for over 100 yards receiving
- Rodgers goes off for 4 TDs
- The Packers defense shows promise, but their unfamiliarity leads to giving up some big plays
Packers 31, Bears 27