Week one of the NFL season is just two days away. Meaningful football is finally here, and that actually means something for Chicago Bears fans in 2018.
After a masterful job by general manager Ryan Pace and the rest of the front office, the Bears are in a position to make some noise in 2018. Beating the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field is never easy, but that’s what the Bears will have to do Sunday night if they want to start the season off 1-0.
Heading into week one, there are many unknowns. Meaning there will be plenty to watch for when the Bears and Packers face-off on Sunday night football.
Going up against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time in Aaron Rodgers is never easy. Therefore, the Bears would be wise to play all of their players…even though some of them missed a significant amount of time in training camp.
Both Kahlil Mack and Roquan Smith didn’t participate much in camp because of contract holdouts. In fact, Mack didn’t step foot on a field during camp, which is fine given that he is a veteran player. Smith, on the other hand, could have benefited from having more time on the field.
Mack should play, as well as Smith. Leonard Floyd, who broke a few fingers should also suit up. All three players participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, meaning they should see playing time come Sunday. Though, Mack and Smith could be on a snap count.
2nd Down: Cody Whitehair
The Bears made the decision to keep Cody Whitehair at the center position for at least the start of the 2018 season. Whitehair clearly struggled with snapping the football this preseason, which isn’t something new. In fact, we saw this many time during the 17 campaign.
Rookie James Daniels had a solid preseason, but will not start. Eric Kush will start at left guard. Whitehair’s exchanges with second-year QB Mitch Trubisky will be something to keep an eye on against the Packers. Daniels playing time will also be something to monitor.
Yes, the Bears have upgraded their roster, but against the Packers, they cannot afford to beat themselves.
3rd Down: Containing Davante Adams
One of the keys for the Bears defense will be slowing down the Packers new No. 1 wide receiver – Davante Adams. With the departure of Jordy Nelson, Adams should see a massive increase in the number of targets he sees per game.
In 2017, Adams was targeted 117 times. That was good for 16th best in the NFL amongst other wideouts. To put that into perspective, DeAndre Hopkins led the NFL after being targeted 174 times last season.
Bringing back the entire secondary from a year ago will help the Bears. Still, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and the rest of his staff need to do a better job of game planning for Adams.
Last year, Adams feasted against the Bears. He caught seven passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Who knows how much better those numbers would have been if he wasn’t injured on a questionable hit by LB Danny Trevathan.
4th Down: Final Thoughts/Prediction
“I know those five guys can’t block Khalil Mack,” Hicks said, referring to the Packers offensive line. It’s hard to disagree with Akiem Hicks here…no one can block Mack. Still, Sunday night’s game with be a tough one to win for the Bears.
The bottom line is the Packers still have the best QB in the game. That’s just a fact. For the first time in a while, the rivalry is reaching a point of equilibrium. However, Rodgers eventually finds a way to beat the Bears at home.
Packers 23 Bears 21
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