The football stars have aligned for the Chicago Bears as they take on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
At the start of the season, few people outside of the diehard fans believed the Chicago Bears would be 9-4 and on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. While optimism was high entering the year, there was also the reality that they had a new head coach, who was trying to install a new offense with a lot of new personnel.
However, the team came out of the gate strong in their Week 1 matchup against the Green Bay Packers — at least in the first half. Not to dredge up bad memories, but the Bears squandered a 20-point second half lead, and lost by a point after a dropped interception by Kyle Fuller.
Looking back at the mood following that game, there was a sense that perhaps it was going to be more of the same for the Bears. It was — at least at the time — a crushing defeat. The team had hoped to reverse its misfortunes against their most hated rival, but once again Aaron Rodgers found a way to get the better of the Bears.
The team could have easily folded after the loss, especially with a new head coach yet to prove his mettle. However, since that time, the team has shown how silly it was to even contemplate that as a possibility. Since then, the Bears have delighted fans to a season full of joy and excitement, and they are on the brink of doing something they haven’t done since 2010, which is to make the playoffs.
In fact, they haven’t sniffed the playoffs since 2013 when, ironically, they lost to the Packers in the last game of the season and were eliminated from playoff contention, as Green Bay celebrated winning the NFC North at Soldier Field.
Fast forward to present day, and my how the football gods have smiled on the Bears, as they have a unique opportunity unfolding before them. With the Minnesota Vikings losing on Monday night to the Seattle Seahawks, the Bears have an opportunity to clinch not only a playoff spot but the NFC North with a win on Sunday.
And guess who happens to be coming to town this week? You guessed it — the Packers. Of course, Aaron Rodgers will be in tow. The same Aaron Rodgers who ruffled some feathers a few weeks ago when he suggested the Packers had a path to the playoffs. This path included beating the Bears in Chicago “a place where we’ve won a number of times” according to Rodgers.
Do you think the Bears have forgotten about that disaster in Week 1? Or even the most recent comments by Rodgers? Not a chance. Akiem Hicks made it clear in an interview on Tuesday that he and his teammates are well aware of those comments and are very much looking forward in welcoming the Packers to Soldier Field — as are Bears fans.
So as the team gets set for its game on Sunday, it has the chance to not only get rid of the bad taste left in their mouths from Week 1 but to begin to rewrite the narrative that has been the Packers getting the nest of them in this rivalry.
Prior to the start of the season, I wrote that the Bears and Packers were heading in different directions. What has transpired in Green Bay and Chicago this season has borne that out, as it is clearer than ever that these two franchises are very much on different paths. However, if the Bears want to truly change the narrative and cement themselves as Kings of the North once again, they need to seize the moment on Sunday and throttle their arch nemesis.