ATM: Opener is Time for Bears to Retake Control of Rivalry

| March 26th, 2019

What better time for the Chicago Bears to reestablish their dominance with their oldest rivals than the opener of the 2019 season?

On Monday, the NFL officially announced the opening of the 2019 season, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the league with the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers.

The Bears have a target on their backs throughout the 2019 offseason and the Packers are making the biggest surge. With a spending spree that included two pass rushers, a new starting guard and, of course, Adrian Amos, the Packers have already attacked some of their biggest weaknesses. With two first round picks and 10 selections overall in the draft next month, it isn’t hard to see a scenario in which their roster looks almost nothing like the sorry group they trotted out last year. All of that, of course, will go around quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers are trying to do what the Bears just did and the Rams did two years ago by winning their division in the first year of a new regime.

The Bears simply can’t let that happen.

The rivalry has been dominated by the Packers for the last 30 years. The Bears seemed to take control of the rivalry toward the end of Brett Favre’s career, only to have Rodgers snatch it back. Now Rodgers is at a crossroads in his career and the Bears are responsible for making sure it ends quietly.

Like Favre did, Rodgers is going through a slump. Last year wasn’t a fluke, it’s been nearly half a decade since he was a consistently dominant player. Outside of an eight-game stretch in 2018, his numbers don’t come close to the league’s elite.

The Packers are hoping that Rodgers — again, like Favre — can snap out of his funk with the help of a new coach.

Green Bay also has one of the better defensive coordinators in the league and are aggressively trying to add talent to that side of the field. Whenever they’ve had even a capable defense, they’ve been Super Bowl contenders.

Make no mistake, the Packers are coming, but the Bears should be the favorites in the 2019 and still have a far superior roster.

If Matt Nagy is really going to establish himself as one of the best coaches in the league and have real staying power, he’s going to have to keep the Packers in check.

Lovie Smith took heat for saying beating the Packers was a top priority, but he wasn’t wrong. When the Bears were good, they were beating the Packers, but he lost nine of his last 11 games against the hated rivals and, ultimately, not being able to beat them cost him his job.

The Packers aren’t simply going to let the Bears become the new bullies on the block, they have to take it. A split last season simply wasn’t enough, the Bears need to open the 2019 season strong and make sure the Packers know exactly who is in control.