Football is back!
This year, there’s an extra layer of excitement for Green Bay Packers fans. As the Packers prepare to face off against the Chicago Bears in their Week 1 showdown, it’s not just about renewing old hostilities, it’s about ushering in a new era. Packers fans will finally get to witness the youth movement they’ve been hearing so much about as a fresh wave of talent takes the field, ready to carry the Green and Gold into a promising(?) future.
Kickoff for Packers @ Bears is set for 3:25 p.m. CT on Sunday, September 10.
The Packers have an astonishing 25-5 record against the Bears since 2008. The last time Chicago beat Green Bay was in 2018 (I was still in high school.). Matt LaFleur has an impeccable 8-0 record versus the Bears since his arrival at 1265 Lombardi Ave. in 2019. However, that doesn’t mean anything to him.
Let’s get to some key players, position groups, and matchups.
As the Packers prepare to face the Bears, the spotlight is undeniably on Jordan Love. This game marks the beginning of a new era in Green Bay, following nearly three decades of Hall of Fame quarterbacking excellence led by the legendary Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
Packers fans have been fortunate to witness an exceptional lineage of signal-callers, and now they find themselves on the brink of a new chapter. The question looms large: Can Jordan Love, the young and promising quarterback, eventually reach the hallowed status of his predecessors and etch his name into the annals of Packers history as a future Hall of Famer?
The answer will unravel over time, but the excitement and anticipation surrounding this transition are palpable, making this matchup against the Bears a significant moment in Packers history.
The Receiver Room
The receiving corps faces a significant challenge as they prepare for the upcoming opener. Christian Watson will be out for Week 1. Additionally, Romeo Doubs will be listed as questionable. However, there’s optimism that he will suit up on Sunday.
As a result, the receiver room will need to step up to replace one (and maybe two) of the team’s top receivers. This group, composed of Jayden Reed, Samori Toure, Malik Heath, and Dontayvion Wicks, collectively brings only 112 NFL snaps to the table, with all but Toure having limited exposure at this level. With Watson being sidelined, the team could consider calling up Bo Melton from the practice squad to bolster the unit.
There’s an element of uncertainty surrounding him as he heads into the season opener. Gary is returning from a torn ACL and did not see any preseason action. He recently began participating in 11-on-11 drills, which means he’s still in the process of getting back to full game shape. Consequently, it’s expected that the Packers will carefully manage his playing time on Sunday, likely placing him on a pitch count to ensure his long-term health.
Nevertheless, if the Rashan Gary who wreaked havoc on the San Francisco 49ers’ offense in the 2022 playoffs and got off to a scorching start in the 2022 season can find his form, he poses a significant threat to the Bears’ offense.
Jaire Alexander has consistently posed challenges for the Bears’ offense in previous encounters, notably intercepting Justin Fields twice during their two matchups in 2022. Nevertheless, Moore is set to be his most formidable adversary yet, marking the best Bears receiver Alexander has ever confronted in his career. In previous clashes against the Packers, Moore has accumulated 251 yards on 15 receptions.
Joe Barry vs. Luke Getsy
Barry arrived in Green Bay in early February 2021. Since then, his defense has allowed an average of 30.5 points per game in Week 1. Green Bay’s offense will be in significant trouble if their defense allows such a margin on Sunday, especially considering that their defensive corps is so young.
Getsy is entering his second year as Chicago’s offensive coordinator, and we can expect them to improve. There’s a major buzz around Justin Fields and how he is poised to make that third-year jump, following in the footsteps of players like Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts. D.J. Moore is a solid presence in the receiver room, and the running game relies on dynamic players like Khalil Herbert and Justin Fields.
Barry will have all of his starters available for Sunday. The defense could potentially feature up to seven first-round draft picks. The responsibility lies with Barry to produce results and carry the young Packers offense when needed.
On paper, the Packers boast a superior roster, potentially granting them a slight advantage, particularly in the trenches. Nevertheless, this relatively youthful Packers squad lacks experience — especially at their injury-riddled receiving corps — and heading into a challenging environment like Soldier Field in Week 1 might pose challenges in terms of maintaining focus and effective communication.
Packers win, 17-13.