The importance of the Bears season-opening matchup against the Packers cannot be overstated.
The Packers have had their way with the Bears throughout the Aaron Rodgers era, and this is Chicago’s chance to get a dose of revenge.

For seemingly the first time in history, both teams are led by a young signal-caller they hope will develop into their franchise quarterback.

It is not hyperbole to say the stakes might be the highest since they met in the NFC Championship game 13 years ago.

As far as the franchise outlook goes, the Packers and Bears appear to be two teams going in opposite directions. The Bears added a ton of talent in the offseason and appeared to be in the final stages of a rapid rebuild. Meanwhile, the Packers are entering the post-Aaron Rodgers era, and they could have a rude awakening to just how bleak life can be without an elite signal-caller at the helm.

The Bears have seemingly never had the edge at the quarterback position. That could finally change this season as Justin Fields looks primed to take a third-year leap while Jordan Love remains a complete unknown through three seasons. Even if Love turns out to be the next great Packers quarterback, the odds of him performing at a high level right out of the gate appear slim. Fields has yet to win a game against Green Bay in his career, and he will be eager to show the offseason hype train won’t be veering off course anytime soon.

The oddsmakers have seemingly taken notice of the changing of the tides, as the Bears are favored over the Packers for the first time since the season opener in 2019.

However, it’s safe to say Vegas doesn’t know what to make of either team, as Chicago is only a one-point favorite at home.

Would all hope be lost if the Bears don’t come out on top in the opener? No, definitely not. After all, their most successful season this decade came in 2018 despite suffering a heartbreaking loss to Green Bay in the season opener. However, a loss would put them in an early hole in the division and could give a relatively unproven Packers squad (at least on the offensive side of the ball) some confidence ahead into a very winnable two-game stretch against the Falcons and Saints.

Meanwhile, the Bears also have two tough road matchups against the Buccaneers and Chiefs on the horizon, so getting an early confidence booster could be vital to their success early in the year. The postseason could be on the line when they face off again in Week 18, but they also need to treat Sunday’s matchup like a playoff game to come out on top.

While Green Bay might not be feeling as much pressure as Chicago, it is safe to say they have as much at stake in the matchup. They will have to show they can keep their head above water without a future Hall of Fame passer under center, and that will be no easy task, especially if their top pass-catchers, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs (who both missed practice today with hamstring injuries), are sidelined.

The slates are wiped clean this Sunday, and the next chapter of their historic rivalry will begin.
Both franchises will be doing everything in their power to strike the first blow of the Jordan Love era, and whoever misses will have to wait the entire season to right their wrong.

Photo: John Fisher/Getty Images

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