NFL’s Oldest Rivals: Packers Aim For Series Lead Against Bears

FOX Football Insider
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After 194 games, dating back to the birth of the National Football League in 1921, the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears are deadlocked.

93-93-6 in the regular season.  1-1 in the postseason.

Green Bay has not led in this border series in more than 80 years, dating back to the early 1930s when Curly Lambeau was the head coach and Johnny “Blood” McNally and Clarke Hinkle were the star performers.

“We’re talking about the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears,” head coach Mike McCarthy said.  “That’s important to our fan base, it’s important to the tradition and history of the National Football league.

“It factors in your preparation, so we make that loud and clear each and every year. . . we’ll be ready to play Thursday night, I can promise you that.”

The Packers and Bears meet tonight at Lambeau Field for the 195th time, with a first NFC North division win of the 2017 regular-season the main goal—and a bonus of a mini-bye respite to heal and rest.

“It’s quite a rivalry,” former Bears head coach and tight end Mike Ditka said.  “In my day, we had such a strong rivalry because of George Halas and Vince Lombardi.  They did not like to lose to anybody—especially each other.

“Playing the Packers was a big deal, and still is today with the Bears and Packers fans.  I remember when I signed my rookie contract, Halas told me one thing we had to do was beat Green Bay.  Now I came from Pittsburgh, so I didn’t really know how intense of a rivalry this was.  I found out pretty quick.”

Ditka said both teams tonight will learn a lot about themselves tonight in a short week, with injuries playing a role for both teams.

“In my opinion, the Bears are better than people think—they play pretty good defense and everything starts with their running game,” Ditka said.  “(Mike) Glennon is no Aaron Rodgers, but (Justin) Howard and (Tarik) Cohen are weapons and their offensive line is getting the job done. 

“Can the Packers defense hold up and stop them, I don’t know.  Green Bay’s offensive line is a problem right now with injuries.  Can they protect Aaron and give him time to get the ball to his weapons?  I don’t know but we’ll find out soon enough tonight.”

Green Bay’s offensive line woes continue, as tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga are listed as doubtful for the game.  Kyle Murphy and long-snapper Brett Goode were placed on the injured reserved list earlier in the week, and the team signed tackle Ulrick John off Arizona’s practice squad on Tuesday.

Lineman Mike Daniels and linebacker Nick Perry—again wearing a club on his right hand—are questionable and would be welcome additions against the potent Bears rushing attack. 

Chicago has been hit hard with defensive losses, as safety Quintin Demps broke his arm in the victory over Pittsburgh Sunday and linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Nick Kwiatoski are out with pectoral injuries.

“Injuries are part of the game,” Ditka said.  “You line up your best tonight and go after it.  Who wants it more?”

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Packers 24, Bears 20
Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will test the Packers’ defense and mettle in a contest of smash-mouth football.  In the end, Aaron Rodgers is the difference maker in a matchup with Mike Glennon.   Rodgers and the offense must start faster against a Chicago defense that held Big Ben and the Steelers’ offense to 17 points.

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