This is going to be a highly-charged game. The Packers are going to be pumped to start Rodgers Revenge Tour 2018, the defense is going to be jacked to start their new scheme, and the DBs are gonna have so much swagger they’ll look drunk.
But the Bears are jacked to start this season, too. They just signed Khalil Mack, pushing their defensive talent pool into the elite category, and they have good skill position players on offense with a QB who’s too you to have proven that he’s a bust yet.
Chicago outlets are predicting playoffs for the Bears over the Packers (I even saw one say they could “dominate” the North). Sure, that may be foolish homerism, but remember that it’s week 1, everyone’s undefeated, and the Bears, like every other team, think they can run the table.
If everything comes together, the Bears certainly can be a force. They have a young QB and skill position players and a defense that looks stacked. For it all to come together, there can be no sophomore slumps and Khalil Mack will have to produce like Reggie White.
The Bears have sacrificed their next two first rounders to get Khalil Mack and their next second rounder to get Anthony Miller. This is after giving up two thirds and a fourth last year to move up for Trubsiky. This means that the talent pipeline is going to be stagnant for a few years.
So they have to look at this as a three year window for a title or bupkis. If Trubisky is the real deal, they’re going to need to pay him and they won’t have a young core of draft picks on cheap rookie deals to fill in the talent-salary void.
And as great as Bears DC Vic Fangio has to feel, this is also a challenge: fit Mack into this scheme. In actuality, he may have to create a new scheme. With Roquan Smith holding out and Mack just arriving, there may be some September bumps as the defense normalizes. A slow start could be deadly in the most competitive division in the league.
It’s tough to predict anything on the Green Bay side for early in the season, too. The Packers have new offensive and defensive coordinators against a team with two new stud defenders in Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith that may have limited availability. On offense, they will be without their best running back for two weeks and on defense they’re still playing wheel-o-free-agents with inside linebacker where they are struggling to replace Jake Ryan and Oren Burks
Anything could happen, but the Packers seem to be in the more stable position at this point. With that, here are my predictions for this game:
Aaron Rodgers will come out on-point and throws 0 interceptions.
Jimmy Graham will have a better Lambeau Leap than his lone preseason showing.
David Bakhtiari will own the edge and shows everyone why we aren’t scared of Khalil Mack.
Kenny Clark will build a campfire and make s’mores two yards deep in the Chicago backfield.
Josh Jackson will fail to fulfill the hype that has unfairly been heaped on him all preseason.
Kentrell Brice will be all over the place.
JK Scott will not falter under the bright lights, his kicks will boom and draw cheers.
Final Score: Packers, 23, Bears 13