Quick look: The Packers are 2-0 against the Bears this year. They beat them 10-3 Jan. 2 in Green Bay in a game they needed to win to get into the playoffs. Then they beat them 21-14 Jan. 23 in Chicago in the NFC championship game.
Had the Bears won either game, the NFL world would have been significantly different nine months later.
The argument can be made that the Packers are a better team now than they were in January, even though they didn’t make a peep in free agency. Their additions came from injured reserve — they got back tight end Jermichael Finley, running back Ryan Grant and safety Morgan Burnett, among others.
What’s more, their passing game appears to be clicking on a higher level than ever. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a new weapon in rookie Randall Cobb.
The Packers are the standard for the Bears. If the Bears can’t beat the Packers, nothing else really matters for them. Of course, beating them in January is a lot more significant than beating them in September.
Key stat: The Packers have won five of the last seven from the Bears.
Key matchup: Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews vs. Bears right tackle Gabe Carimi or Frank Omiyale. Matthews is the best pass-rushing linebacker in the league, and he is sure to give the Bears’ rookie all he can handle if Carimi is healthy enough to play after injuring his knee Sunday. Whether it’s Carimi or Omiyale, the Bears still will need to give their right tackle plenty of help.
Early pick: Bears 20, Packers 19.