Green Bay vs Chicago Bears
Soldier Field, Thursday 5th September
Will the new coach effect work wonders for the Pack?
The first game of last season was between these two old-foes and up until the final quarter it was a masterclass from the then-new head coach of Chicago (Matt Nagy) as Khalil Mack and the Bears defense blew up everything that the Packers tried before rallying late on to steal an unlikely win.
This year it’s the opposite with Matt LeFleur taking over at Green Bay; the removal of Mike McCarthy should spark the Packers back into life with Aaron Rodgers in full “screw you mode” to prove that the results of the last two seasons were the fault of their departed coach.
With a fresh look on offense it could provide some issues for the vaunted Bears defense of last season, especially with a head coach who has worked under Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay.
Packers passing perfection?
The mustached maestro Aaron Rodgers is rated by many as the most gifted passer in the league. Whilst his team had a poor year, he finished with just 25 TDs and 2 interceptions last year.
The fact that he was just throwing the ball away rather than scrambling to keep the drive alive was a big part of it, but that seems to have been largely down to the rift that grew between McCarthy and Rodgers.
Rodgers’ favorite target last year and the man he’s talked up all off-season was Davante Adams who finally broke the 1,000 yard mark for the first time and put up double-digit touchdowns for the third year running finishing the year with 13 scores.
Twelve of those came within the red-zone, an area where he was the most targeted player in the league, converting half of his 32 targets in the last 20 yards of the field.
Unsurprisingly the bookies know this and you’re getting +110 on him to score in the opener, against a tough Bears secondary. But with Rodgers keen to prove all the issues of the last 2 season were the fault of McCarthy, it’s still something I’m keen to get on.
Something a little bigger?
It’s probably worth noting that the slot position was very effective in that opener last year with Cobb and Allison accounting for 211 yards and 2 TDs. Allison will be in the slot for this one with Valdez-Scantling outside.
So if you wanted a bigger priced shot than Adams then +550 on Allison isn’t the worst look. It makes sense too, how do you negate the pass rush from Khalil Mack and the Bears?
Either play action to get Rodgers outside the pocket which he used to excel in, or quick passes to the slot receiver.
It may seem silly to take on the Bears passing defense on the road in the first game of the season, but I fancy the Packers to win this one and if they do then I think Rodgers throws some touchdowns.
Best bet: Davante Adams anytime touchdown scorer +110
Outsider: Geronimo Allison anytime touchdown scorer +550