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

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Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) gets pressure from Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Mike Pennel (64) and linebacker Julius Peppers (56) in the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Will The Bears Actually Be Competitive?

Nothing hurt more last year than the second game against the Packers. I can’t remember where I was coming back from, but I rushed home from a vacation to watch the Bears play the Packers in Cheeseland on a Sunday night. The Bears were coming off the bye week at 3-5, and a surprising road win could have righted the ship.

Instead, they were down 42-0 at the half. The team had already shown signs of dissolving in the first half of the season, but the first half of the Green Bay game was the nadir. The defense was porous, the offense lifeless and the whole team seemed disinterested once they got down.

Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) scores a touchdown after catching a pass during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

And that was just one game; at least a handful of other contests saw either entire games (New England, New Orleans) or portions of games (the second half in the first Green Bay game, the last three-quarters against Detroit on Thanksgiving, the second half against Dallas) where the Bears were not competitive.

I think, though, that the losing attitude that infected the Bears in the middle of last season was cured with some new personnel on the field and a new coaching staff with a history of winning (in the regular season, anyway). John Fox and Vic Fangio should be able to come up with a few ways to slow Green Bay down, even if it isn’t enough to push the Bears over the top and actually beat Green Bay in a game where Rodgers played the full contest. That hasn’t happened since 2010, by the way.

Honestly, I don’t expect the Bears to win Sunday. There’s too much of a talent gap between them and the Packers. But I am hopeful that they can keep it close, and show that while they may not be an above average team this year, they at least won’t be a pushover. Yes, that’s the roundabout way of saying I hope they score a moral victory.

If the Bears can run the ball, if Cutler avoids the mandatory turnover(s), if McPhee and company can pressure Rodgers, then the Bears can keep the game close, prove the one-sided nature of the rivalry could be coming to an end and give them confidence heading into a winnable game at home in Week 2 against the Cardinals.

Next: Predicting All 16 Chicago Bears Games

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