Here they come. The hated rival. The team that has caused so much heartache and emotional pain on Chicago over the last 30 years.
And really the one man at the helm of it all.
The Rolling Stones sang it well:
Oh no, not you again
F***ing up my life
It was bad the first time I can’t stand it twice
Unfortunately, it’s been more than twice. The team from up north has killed and beaten up on the Bears time and time again. Every time you think the tables have turned in this rivalry or that they are finally finished, that quarterback comes back and curb stomps Chicago’s collective football souls.
Will this time be any different?
SB Nation site: Acme Packing Company
Record: 4-1, first in the NFC North
Last week: 25-22 wild OT win over the Bengals
Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, FOX
Bears all-time record against: 95-101-6, including postseason
Historical meetings: If it seems like the Chicago Bears and Packers don’t meet much in October, you’re not crazy. This is just the fifth meeting since 2000 in October, for whatever reason these games either occur in September or November and December.
Way back on Oct. 17, 1991, the Bears met the Packers on a Thursday night at Lambeau. The Packers were 1-5 and the Bears were 4-2.
Jim Harbaugh threw a touchdown to Jim Thornton and Kevin Butler added a field goal in fourth and that was all Chicago needed as they blanked the Packers on their home field 10-0.
Tom Waddle caught three passes for 41 yards and Neal Anderson added 81 yards rushing. Crazy stat: James “Big Cat” Williams actually recorded a sack in this game, as it was before he was converted to offensive tackle.
Last meeting: A 35-16 loss to the Packers at Soldier Field on January 3.
The Bears had a playoff spot to play for and scored the first touchdown of the game, but couldn’t find the end zone again, mustering just three field goals the rest of the way.
The defense held Devante Adams to just 46 yards but let Marquez Valdes-Scantling get loose for a 72-yard score.
Injury report: On Wednesday, the Packers reported nine players as being limited or not participating in practice:
Limited: WR Davante Adams (not injury related), WR Randall Cobb (not injury related), G Elgton Jenkins (ankle), RB Aaron Jones (ankle), S Vernon Scott (knee), TE Robert Tonyan (knee)
Did not participate: T Dennis Kelly (back), CB Kevin King (shoulder)
Offense: The Packers offense comes into the game ranked 13th in points and 22nd in yards.
Their passing offense ranks 16th and their rushing attack ranks 22nd.
Despite the middling rankings, they come in winning four straight, despite scoring fewer and fewer points (35, 30, 27, 25)
Aaron Rodgers (65.6 pct cmp./1,241 yds./10 TD/3 INT) is still up to his usual level of MVP-type play and he’s still lacking in household name weapons.
Other than Davante Adams (42 rec./579 yds./2 TD) that is, who has 25 more receptions than the next closest receiver (Aaron Jones, a RB, who has 17/132/3) and 422 more yards (Randall Cobb, 11/157/2).
So that’s basically one guy that the Bears need to focus on stopping downfield.
Other pass catchers include TE Robert Tonyan (9/82/1), RB A.J. Dillon (9/88/1) and WR Allen Lazard (7/97/0).
In the running game it’s all about Jones (70 att./309 yds./2 TD) and he’s spelled by Dillon (38/166/0).
As good as Rodgers can be and as good as his coach Matt LeFleur is, the defensive game plan starts with forcing someone other than Adams and Jones to beat you. Rodgers is great, but he won’t be able to do it all without those weapons.
Defense: The Packers’ defense ranks 19th in points allowed but ranks sixth in yards allowed.
Their pass defense ranks 10th and their rushing defense is 11th.
Green Bay’s 12 pass touchdowns allowed ranks 28th.
The Packers defense is banged up, they’re already down Jaire Alexander and EDGE Za’Darius Smith but now Kevin King (10 tkls/1 PD) is nursing an injured shoulder.
Elsewhere on the defense, the Packers are led by EDGE Preston Smith (2 sks/13 tkls/2 TFL/6 QB hits), LB Rashan Gary (1.5 sks/ 10 QB hits/14 tkls/1 TFL) and De’Vondre Campbell (48 tkls/2 INT/3 PD/1 TFL).
Former Bear Adrian Amos (1 INT/3 PD/37 tkls) is still patrolling deep and DE Kenny Clark (1 sk/3 QB hits/3 TFL) is still playing well in the trenches.
Key match ups: I think perhaps the biggest, other than the Bears’ pass rush against the Packers OL to pressure Aaron Rodgers, is Jaylon Johnson vs. Davante Adams.
Adams had only 46 yards the last time these teams played, but that was when rookie Johnson still had Kyle Fuller to perhaps lean on. This time, I expect Johnson to shadow Adams and it will be the must-watch match up for fans of the deeper layers of the game.
The battle in the trenches will be interesting as the Packers are allowing 4.3 yards per carry, so Khalil Herbert and Damian Williams should be able to find some running room.
- The Packers defense ranks 27th on third down percentage, allowing opponents a 45.5 percent success rate
- They rank dead last in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score on every trip inside the red zone this season (opponents are 13 for 13)
- The Bears have won four of the last 22 meetings
- The Packers have won the turnover battle in every game of their four game winning streak
- Davante Adams accounts for 44.2 percent of the Packers’ total passing yards and 46.5 percent of Rodgers’ passing yards.
- Adams and Aaron Jones account for 56.3 percent of the Packers’ total scrimmage yards.
- The Bears have lost four in a row to the Packers and have just one win against them in the Matt Nagy era.
Can the Bears break their losing streak to the Packers this weekend? Are you feeling optimistic?