Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers: 5 Things To Watch For

1 of 6

Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) carries the football during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, regular season football returns to the Windy City Sunday afternoon as the beloved Chicago Bears host their eternal rival and recent nemesis Green Bay Packers.

More from Chicago Bears News

The scheduling gods did the Bears no favors in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season. About the only game that could have been worse for the rebuilding Bears would have been the road game in Seattle. The Bears were shellacked in two games against Green Bay last year, and facing Aaron Rodgers with the Bears defense appearing undermanned is an unwelcome proposition. At least this one’s at Soldier Field.

The Bears have looked up-and-down in the preseason, as was expected from a team learning new schemes under new coaches. Still, the prevailing winds indicate the defense is very much a work in progress, while the offense has talent at the skill positions but is weak along the line.

With the Bears facing a tough schedule this season – the NFC North is loaded with potential playoff contenders, while they face the NFC West (three playoff contenders and San Francisco) and the AFC West (three playoff contenders and Oakland) – the season gives the appearance of brutality.

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Kevin White (West Virginia) is selected as the number seven overall pick to the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason was unkind to the Bears’ roster, as well, as a handful of key players sustained injuries. Alshon Jeffery missed the entire preseason with a calf injury, although he returned to practice this week and seems primed to play Sunday.

Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson also missed time but seem likely to play, and rookie first-rounder Kevin White missed the whole preseason and will miss at least part of the regular season with a shin injury.

Injuries have also bothered Jermon Bushrod (back) and Tracy Porter (hamstring), Eddie Goldman and Jimmy Clausen (both concussions) and the suspended Jeremiah Ratliff (ankle) at various points during the preseason, while Ryan Mundy and Senorise Perry are both on injured reserve.

Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordy Nelson (not pictured) in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay, meanwhile, is still helmed by Rodgers, but they’ve battled their own injury problems this year. Top wide receiver Jordy Nelson tore his ACL and is out for the year, while Randall Cobb injured his shoulder, though he seems likely to play Sunday. Their offensive line has also battled injuries this preseason.

Nevertheless, as long as Rodgers is the quarterback, Green Bay is the favorite against the Bears. They have two talented backs in battering ram Eddie Lacy and James Starks, good receivers in Cobb, Davante Adams and the recently returned veteran James Jones.

Defensively, the Packers look solid with Sam Shields and Casey Heyward at the corners and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett (who ESPN reports may not play Sunday) patrolling deep, while Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers provide pressure off the edges.

If the Bears want to pull off the upset, they’ll need more than a few things to go their way.

Next: It's About Time