Packers vs Bears: The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, one of the NFL’s most storied rivalries, kick off the league’s 100th season on Thursday night at Soldier Field. The game will be the 199th meeting between the NFC North foes and the second consecutive season-opener between the teams. Six of the last seven games between the two teams at Soldier Field have been decided by single digits.
Packers vs Bears
When: Thursday, Sept. 5
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
The Bears come in having won the NFC North title for the first time since 2010. They clinched the division championship with a 24-17 win over the Packers last Dec. 16 at Soldier Field and in the process snapped an eight-game home losing streak to the Packers.
The Bears have one of the best defenses in the league. The unit is coming off a season in which it led the NFL in points allowed (17.7), takeaways (36), interceptions (27) and rushing yards allowed (80.0). Though defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is gone, linebacker Khalil Mack leads a deep and talented unit that is nearly intact from last year. The offense is led by third-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. A shoulder injury slowed Trubisky down last year, but he still completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and made the Pro Bowl.
The Packers have a new head coach at the helm in Matt LaFleur. LaFleur is entering his 11th season in the NFL, having served as an offensive coordinator last season for the Tennessee Titans. The offense is led once again by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is healthy after two injury-plagued seasons. Though he played 16 games last year, he did so with a tibial plateau fracture and MCL sprain.
The Packers made significant improvements on defense in the offseason. They signed Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith and drafted Rashan Gary in the first round to bolster the pass rush. They also signed safety Adrian Amos. The defensive unit should be much better than the one that gave up 25.0 points per game last season, which ranked 22nd in the league.
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