So here we are, the Friday before what is the equivalent of Christmas (or insert non-Christian holiday of your choice), and it feels good. NFL kickoff weekend is always bittersweet to me. I love that real football is starting-especially when the Cubs shoot themselves in the feet in August-but it’s also the signal that the spiral into Chicago’s long, cold winter is upon us. That’s not too disappointing this year either since we didn’t have a summer in Chicago.
You have to admit a couple things about this matchup are to be savored. The Bears and Packers sharing the national stage of opening day’s marquee game, and the fact that for most of my life, one team in this rivalry was usually up, the other usually down. Usually the Bears since I’ve been an adult, unfortunately. It’s pretty exciting to know that the teams should be fairly evenly matched and it should be a good game to watch. (Granted I’d love it if the Packers were still in the grave, but that’s not the case so I’m trying to make the most of it).
I can’t make a prediction for this game, and I won’t do it for the season this year as I did last year. In 2008 I was one of the very few that thought the Bears would start strong and beat the Colts on Sunday Night Football opening week, and they did. But I also didn’t see much hope for the season as a whole; I thought the Bears would finish 7-9 and they surprised me by winning 2 more than that and just missing the playoffs on a blown win in the season finale.
Even I have to admit that offensively the Packers looked good in the preseason. I hope this is just the preseason of course, but Aaron Rodgers and his receivers look pretty good. Couple that with a depleted Bears secondary, and there is cause for concern. Hell, can Zack Bowman stay on the field for more than a series without getting injured? I hope so.
I do have faith in this Bears team, and no matter what happens Sunday, unlike 2008 I think even if the Bears lose this battle they still have a very good chance of winning the war. And they should have a very good chance at winning the battle.
Enjoy the game.