If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I don’t have a good handle on who/what the Packers are…no one really should. There are so many new pieces, both coaches and players, to really understand what the Packers are going to be. So let’s look at what each team was last year, whom/what they added and lost, and give an educated guess as to what each actually may be now…
After the 2018 campaign, the Bears ranked in the top 10 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Packers were a “middle of the road” team in each offense and defense. Which was very indicative of each team’s record.
As you can see the Packers are outclassed in these rankings, but let’s look at the key additions.
Packers ~ obviously the largest addition is the coaching staff. An overhaul of strategy, scheme, and environment (mindset). What has been a weakness for years can now be argued as a strength; defensive secondary. The Packers traded away Haha Clinton-Dix and replaced him with Adrian Amos (funny enough essentially traded safeties with Chicago). Amos is one of the better safeties in football, and the other Safety, Darnell Savage, has pure raw ability to be something – great role model to learn from in Amos is now here vs. Haha’s gambling a$$. Again, this is a huge IF, but if Kevin King can stay healthy the Packers boast a borderline great secondary, couple that with new pass-rushers in The Smiths (Za’Darius and Preston) and the defense really could be improved.
Thinking further, the Packers scheme-change on offense (should have quite a bit more of a run focus) should keep the defense off the field longer and should make them more effective. If Rodgers is asked to only make 25-30 throws/game, that could really equate to a very efficient offense (points/possession) while the defense wouldn’t have to play as much, making them better, so on and so forth.
Bears ~ the largest loss for Chicago, I believe, was Vic Fangio (defensive coordinator). He went to become the Head Coach at Denver, and really turned this Bears’ defense around in his time, then getting Khalil Mack really helped as well. However, with him leaving, and the QB of the defense, Adrian Amos, not only leaving, but joining your week 1 opponent—that could really set a disadvantage or at least negate the major advantage they could have had. The Bears also let HB Jordan Howard walk, but drafted high-ceiling/low-basement HB David Montgomery from Iowa St.
Overall- these two teams split their season series last year, each winning their home game. The Surprise Factor has been discussed this week, meaning the Bears had an advantage last year because they had a new coach which was unknown and the Packers’ defense had no clue what to expect, but adjusted nicely and ultimately won the game. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky didn’t play a lick of preseason last year as well, and the offense had no issue in the 1st half of the first game, so assuming the Packers and Aaron Rodgers would experience the same may actually be accurate.
X-Factor? Aside from the QBs or Khalil Mack, I truly believe the Packers’ OL vs. the Bears’ DL will dictate the outcome of this game. That makes me happy as a former offensive lineman J
Season Record: 0-0
Overall Record: 43-25