Week 10 Preview: Packers Hope For Survival in Chicago

For 30,657 days, the Bears held at least one thing over the Packers. The Packers may have had more championships, trips to the playoffs, and Super Bowl trophies, but from October 22, 1933 until September 27, 2017, the Bears held the lead in the all-time rivalry won/loss record.

On September 28, 2017, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers emphatically took back the series lead, quite possibly for good. Who could see the Bears making any sort of run at the Packers while Rodgers was king in the NFC North?

Who indeed.

Now, the Packers may give up their tenuous rivalry lead just over a month after taking it back for the first time since people thought there was only going to be one World War. What’s more, the team is in freefall, seeing its defense shredded, its offense thoroughly enfeebled, and its marquee free agent signing unceremoniously released without warning.

To stop that free fall, the Packers face the simple task of going on the road to face the Bears on what’s forecasted to be a wet, rainy, and cold Sunday, perfect conditions for a team that thrives on power running and hard nosed defense.

You’d be forgiven for running short on confidence, but that’s where the Packers are today, looking much more like the team that trailed in the series standings by two dozen games in the 80s than one thought to be a Super Bowl contender the last time they faced this opponent.

Five Things to Think About During Sunday’s Game

1. It’s been a long time since a quarterback other than Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers has been under center for the Packers against the Bears. On December 8, 1991, Packers quarterback Mike Tomczak threw for 209 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions as Green Bay fell to Jim Harbaugh’s Bears, 27-13.

2. When Mike McCarthy’s Packers have beaten the Bears, they’ve done so by scoring over 20 points. Only one time during McCarthy’s tenure has Green Bay scored fewer than 20 points and won – the other 16 wins have come when the Packers have scored over 20 points.

3. The Packers offense isn’t the same without Aaron Rodgers, but their rushing attack has been excellent. Between Ty Montgomery and rookie Aaron Jones, the Packers average 4.53 yards per carry, good for fifth-best in the NFL.

4. Brett Hundley became the first Packers quarterback to rush for a touchdown in both of his first two career starts with Green Bay. Hundley looks to be the fourth quarterback to start and win a game under head coach Mike McCarthy (Favre, Rodgers, and Matt Flynn).

5. Younger Packers fans may not recognize his name, but Bears secondary coach Ed Donatell may be one of the most infamous assistant coaches in Green Bay’s history. Donatell was dismissed as defensive coordinator in 2004 after the Packers allowed the Eagles to convert on 4th-and-26 during the fourth quarter of the divisional playoffs.

Who Could Be an X-Factor This Week?

Jon says Blake Martinez.

The last time the Packers had to play without Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix took wore the communications helmet on defense and things did not go well. With Burnett out again this week, Blake Martinez will be entrusted with that responsibility. Martinez previously wore the helmet in his rookie season, and now, in addition to playing an expanded role on defense, he’ll be asked to resume that responsibility. He’s already been piling up tackles. Now let’s see what he can do when charged with making the defensive trains run on time.

Gary says Joe Callahan.

During the week, we compared the performances of Brett Hundley so far this season and Scott Tolzien’s 2013 stretch as quarterback. Tolzien was pulled in favor of Matt Flynn, who kept the Packers afloat long enough until Aaron Rodgers returned. While Callahan is not as seasoned or skilled as Flynn, there’s precedent that if Hundley continued to struggle, McCarthy could give Callahan a chance at quarterback.

What Happened the Last Time the Packers and Bears Played?

The Packers and Bears have already squared off once this season, meeting on a Thursday night at Lambeau Field on in Week 4.

Nobody knew it at the time, but a little over a month later, the game would be emblematic of how much both teams had changed.

With Aaron Rodgers under center, the Packers marched to a touchdown on their first drive to take a lead they would never surrender. Starting at quarterback for the Bears, Mike Glennon fumbled away the next Chicago possession, leading to an easy score for the Packers. Another Glennon fumble in the second quarter put the Packers up 21-0, and from there the proceedings were largely academic as the Packers cruised to a 35-14 victory.

This game also included Danny Trevathan's brutal helmet to helmet hit on Davante Adams, who spent the night in the hospital before returning the next week for a great game against the Dallas Cowboys, including the game winning touchdown.

Who’s Going to Win on Sunday?

Jon says the Bears by a touchdown.

Much as the Lions were a bad matchup for the Packers last week, the Bears present a nearly equally frustrating puzzle. Chicago’s defense has been ferocious since Aaron Rodgers dismantled it on Thursday Night Football, holding opponents to 20 points or less in three of Chicago’s four games since. That run includes an impressive throttling of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, whom Chicago limited to just three points.

Even if the Packers feast on rookie Mitchell Trubisky, it’s hard to see Brett Hundley moving the ball against such a tenacious group. A touchdown might be all the Bears need to win this one.

Gary says the Bears by ten.

If I was playing Madden 18 and having the type of season this year’s Packers are having, I would have yanked the power cord out from the wall and broken the disc in half. For the first time in 26 years, the Bears start a game against the Packers with a clear advantage at quarterback. That hurts to type.

For Further Listening

This week on Blue 58, we went deep on Dom Capers, laying out our case on why we think he should be let go. The case may not go back as far as you might think, but it’s still probably time for Capers to scamper off into retirement. Give it a listen.