The NFL returns with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers tonight – one of the best rivalries in sports – and opened the season on Thursday night.
Exactly one year ago, the Bears and Packersof the 2018 NFL season. The first Sunday night of the year was a game that offered everything: historic rivals, stars on both sides of the field , incredible performances and a dramatic comeback, led by a great all-time man.
Tonight we can do it all over again. And as we will see on the field, much of these two teams are equal as they prepare for the 1
The Bears return nine of the eleven starters from last year's offensive. Mitchell Trubisky and his company are now working on Matt Nagy's system for the second year. Of course, the Packers are still quartered by the legendary Aaron Rodgers, whose # 1 is still Davante Adams and who still has one of the League's best offensive lines to protect him. The Bears also bring back almost every major contribution from last year's best NFL defense, with eight of 11 starters coming back for a repeat.
But the bears have exchanged Jordan Howard for freshman David Montgomery. Former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio isof the Broncos, while Bryce Callahan, who stood at the corner of the slot, followed him to Denver and was replaced by Buster Skrine, the former corner of Browns and Jets. (Fangio was replaced by former Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who served as a consultant to several teams last season.) Security Adrian Amos now, the Packers, and was replaced by … former replaced Packers security Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Green Bay has for the first time since 2006 a new coach (and thus a new offense).for Mike McCarthy. Aaron Jones now seems to be the undisputed player again, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who could not compete in the second year, has locked the second job and Geronimo Allison has moved into the slot. And all these changes have faded compared to the overhaul that the packers have made in the defense sector, where they spent in this off-season to Preston Smith, Za & # 39; To anchor Darius Smith and the aforementioned Amos coordinator Mike Pettines unit; Former Maryland Security Darnell Savage; Get Clay Matthews in the open hand and make Mike Daniels a just before the camp starts.
How do all these changes affect this matchup, which is also the first game of the NFL's 100th season? We are glad that you asked, because that's what we are to break up.
You are looking for more for the season opener on Thursday evening? Jared Dubin joined Will Brinson to end the game in the latest installment of the Pick Six podcast. Listen below:
Info about Packer at Bears
- Date: Thursday, September 5
- Time: 8: 20 pm ET
- TV Channel: NBC
- Streaming: fuboTV (free trial)
- Odds: Bears -3, O / U 46.5 (via SportsLine)  Get more NFL tips, betting analytics and access to proven computer simulations and fantasy tools by signing in to SportsLine. Former Vegas bookmakers give perspective from the other side of the counter, while cutting-edge experts with decades of experience in handicap games give their top games. Join SportsLine here to see this week's winners.
When the packers have the ball
Let's start with what we know the ball.
Chicago is almost certainly playing with his corner balls. Kyle Fuller is on the left corner and Prince Amukamara on the right. They all played 99 percent of their shots on these sides of the ball last season, and there's no reason to believe that this will change if Chuck replaces Pagano Fangio as defensive coordinator. Chicago will move star-pass rusher Khalil Mack to try to get him into cheap matchups, depending on his formation and direction from left (51.5 percent of his snaps last season) or right (48.5 percent) ), while Leonard Floyd will hurry up to face him. Akiem Hicks raises pressure in the middle as Roquan Smith moves from sideline to sideline and Eddie Jackson patrols the back end to play on the ball.
All these acquaintances inform about what we can and should expect offensive from the packers. Davante Adams made the most appearances as a left-winger last season, spending 52 percent of his snapshots there, with 27 percent on the right and 21 percent in the slot. However, given the strength of the Bears cornerbacks and more efficient distribution to slot receivers, LaFleur would be apt to move Adams a lot more than McCarthy last season.
Skrine is clearly the weakest link in Chicago's DB trio, and Adams could absolutely eat him inwardly. Skrine allowed 537 yards on passes for slot wideouts last season, third in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, while his five allowed touchdowns in the slot were the most in the league. Allison is expected to be Packers' main defender, but with Chicago largely aligned with its corners, it makes sense to be in the matchup to help Rodgers find his primary goal as easily as possible. If the bears want Fuller and Amukamara with Valdes-Scantling and Allison in the game while Rodgers spices Adams with throws, that's in favor of Green Bay and not Chicago.
Similarly, we should expect Mack to fall largely off the left edge in this game. Bakhtiari is arguably the best offensive player in the entire league, and although Bulaga is an above-average right-lobster, beating him more than Bakhtiari is undoubtedly easier. To place Mack in the best possible position to successfully end the Green Bay offensive is to pit him against the team's weaker duels – though Rodgers knows exactly where his onslaught is coming from, as if he were blind Page.
While we do not know exactly what the new LaFleur-led pass-attack will look like, we can no doubt assume that more of Rodgers passes have game-action counterfeits. Rodgers threw after a run-fake only 20.1 percent of his attempts in the past season, according to PFF, a number that came in from 37 qualified passers the 30th place. LaFleur comes from the McVay / Shanahan coach tree, where they perform some of the league's most playful actions. Jared Goff took second place among the 37 quarterbacks last year, while Marcus Mariota finished fifth. (LaFleur spent last season as Tennessee's Offensive Coordinator.) Expect a big boost for Rodgers in this area and for the Packers as they try to achieve great success crossing the seams and traversing tracks before returning ,
While there is a school of thought that the effectiveness of game action requires a dominant or at least strong speed, research has shown that it is far less true than is generally believed. Although the Bears bring back almost every important piece of DVOA's No. 2 defense last year, the pursuit of a fun-action-packed pass strike is still an advantageous strategy.
These counterfeits could even help Jones loose the running game and increase his efficiency from the 20 Carry for 69 yards he had in his career against the Bears. It's not the best idea in the world to go straight to a lineman in the stud farm like Hicks, but a zone-based scheme where Jones can flow behind blockers until a crease opens and then breaks through them is probably what we in See action. The Rams were the leaders in the zone races last season, according to Sports Info Solutions, while the Titans finished fifth. The Packers ranked only 29th, which is a pretty significant change in the way their attack actually looks. (The 2018 Bears finished second in yards allowed per relaying zone run, yielding just 3.2 yards per pop.)
Perhaps the biggest difference on this side of the ball is not the change in offensive play. Caller for the Packers, but defensive play-caller for the Bears. Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan and LaFleur, who were interviewed by ESPN.com last week, gave the same answer: Vic Fangio.
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When The Bears Ball Have
We know much more about what the schemes and matchups will look like here, as we did in the previous section, especially because the same players return to the field.
We know what to expect from Matt Nagy's offensive: an Andy Reid style attack that uses many fast, determined routes, game action fakes, misdirections, and creativity to isolate playmakers with cheap outdoor matchups , And we know what to expect from Mike Pettine's defense: an aggressive pass rush based on a high dose of lightning and forcing the opposing quarterback to fail. The lightning rate of 29.1 percent in Green Bay was the eighth highest in the NFL last season, according to Football Outsiders.
Due to the defensive overhaul in Green Bay, the matchups in this game look different than a year ago.
Preston and Za & # 39; s Darius Smith will now come off the edge in favor of Pettines defense with the help of rookie Rashan Gary and veteran Kyler Fackrell. Defender Jaire Alexander is No. 1 in the team's second year, while Kevin King seems to be No. 2. Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage are safe as Tramon Williams play in the slot and Josh Jackson gets plenty of it again. Front Mike Daniels and Muhammad Wilkerson are gone, replaced by Dean Lowry and Montravius Adams. This is a very different picture than what the bears saw in Green Bay last year.
Perhaps the area in which Chicago benefits most is the running game. Green Bay finished 24th in the Rush Defense DVOA last season, and the unit's second-best run defender (Daniels) now plays for the Lions. Clark is an absolute monster inside, but he's just a guy. The bears bring back the core of an above-average off-road blocking line and have replaced a buggy that rarely survived battles (Howard, who scored at least 50 runs in the PFF Elusive classification among the 72 backs , 66th place occupied). with a dynamic rusher who passed the nation in missed kits forced during his final year in college (Montgomery).
The Bears should also have advantages in short-distance and screen play, with Tarik Cohen offering an extremely fast and athletic advantage over the linebackers Oren Burks and Blake Martinez. The bears did not add much to Cohen's schedule last season in two matchups with Green Bay (18 touches for 96 yards and a touchdown), and although Nagy was unaware that he wanted to overstock the gadget, this is a good situation for Cohen, see 8-12 touches and break some big pieces.
The bears are expected to again use Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel as perimeter receivers, while Anthony Miller, who is in our second year, spends most of his time in the slot. Miller has been beaten most often by Tramon Williams, who switched between security, slot and outside corner last year, and admitted that he allowed a ridiculous eight touchdowns and 125.6 pass ratings for throws in his direction, according to PFF. Nagy and Trubisky should try to attack this matchup early and often, which should help to open things out.
Trubisky will obviously need time to throw if he wants to attack on the pitch, which he did more often than any quarterback last season. Throws of at least 20 meters in the air accounted for 16.8 percent of Trubisky's total in 2018, after PFF and only after Josh Allen of Buffalo. However, Trubisky only had varying degrees of effectiveness in these litters, with 73 attempts making 877 yards, seven touchdowns and six picks. The bears put Trubisky under pressure only 29.6 percent last season. This was the eighth lowest quota in the league. Therefore, he should at least have time to reconsider his options, provided the front can defend itself against Green Bay's revised pass rush.
The Bears could work in the narrow end of Trey Burton without one of his trigger valves, which did not have much impact last season and spent a lot of time in the training camp injuring themselves before the season. If he sits, the third year man, Adam Shaheen, will probably fit in with it. We have not seen much of Shaheen in two NFL seasons, but he's huge (6ft-6, 257lbs) and a strong athlete, and could look different for a worry than any other Bears receiver.
Prediction: Bears 23, Packers 20