That’s the margin the Green Bay Packers lead the Chicago Bears by in a fierce rivalry that dates back to the infancy of the National Football League.
Big city on the lake versus the small city on the bay. Intense and loyal fan base. More than a century of games between the two franchises that have produced the most players whose busts reside in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
From Halas and Lambeau to Butkus and Nitschke. From Starr and Ditka to Favre and Payton. From White and McMahon to Rodgers and Singletary.
The rivals meet again Sunday night at Lambeau Field with Chicago having a slight edge on the young 2022 season, entering 1-0 against 0-1 Green Bay.
“I love the history of this game,” said Rodgers, who is 23-5 as a starter against the Bears. “When I got to this squad, Chicago was beating us in the all-time record. Now we’re up by eight I believe.”
The Packers will be looking to rebound after a season-opening debacle in Minnesota Sunday, while the Bears outlasted the 49ers at rain-soaked Soldier Field to sit atop the NFC North Standings with Minnesota. Matt LaFleur’s team can ill-afford to lose back-to-back games in the division. It’s almost a must-win game for Green Bay with a trip to Tampa on deck next week.
It will be a chance for redemption for the Green Bay defense, which was torched by Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson last week, and the offense, which misfired early and often at U.S. Bank Stadium. The focus and intensity have been increased this week in preparations and practice for Chicago.
And the coaching staff no doubt will make in-game adjustments faster this week. A bright spot: the Packers special teams, ranked last in the NFL in 2021, turned in a solid performance against the Vikings.
Rodgers, just 22 of 34 for 195 with no touchdowns and two turnovers (INT and fumble), and the offense may get a boost from the return of tackle Elgton Jenkins, a full time participant in practice today for the first time this season, and receiver Allen Lazard (ankle), who was also listed as questionable for Sunday’s game on the team’s injury report this afternoon.
Lazard, tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), and guard Jon Runyan (concussion) were limited participants in practice today and listed as questionable. All may be game-time decisions on Sunday.
A major challenge for Green Bay will be slowing the Bears pass rush, which is spearheaded by Robert Quinn who set a franchise record last season with 18.5 sacks. Rookie Dominique Robinson had 1.5 sacks in his NFL debut against San Francisco. Another key will be containing dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields and limiting the explosive plays that haunted the Packers against Minnesota.
NFL Week 2 Picks
Packers 31, Bears 17
Defense and running game are the keys to this one. LaFleur emphasizes the ground game and gives Jones and Dillon the touches to open up the passing game for Rodgers and his young receivers. Green Bay defense contains Fields to pull away in second half from revved up Chicago squad under new head coach Matt Eberflus.