One of my WPB colleagues, Jerry Tapp, recently wrote a blog on how no Green Bay Packers coach, including legendary Vince Lombardi, ever won their first regular-season game.
If you believe the prognosticators who work in Las Vegas, Matt LaFleur won’t win his first regular-season game as the Packer new coach, either. The Vegas oddsmakers have the LaFleur-led Packers as three-point underdogs in their game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night in Chicago.
I disagree and believe LaFleur will be victorious in his Packers’ debut – even though the Bears are legitimate NFC championship contenders and even though the game will be played at Soldier Field.
Having written that, the Bears have their flaws and I fully expect LaFleur will expose them. The Bears’ offense, in particular, is suspect. They have a young, mediocre quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky, their running backs and wide receivers are average and their line is solid but hardly great.
In other words, the Bears’ offense isn’t anything special.
On the other hand, the Packers’ offense could be special – especially if Aaron Rodgers stays upright. Rodgers remains one of the elite players in the game, and he has some big-time weapons, one being wide receiver Davante Adams and the other being running back Aaron Jones, who could emerge as a star in LaFleur’s system.
That’s not to say Rodgers and Co. will have it easy against the Bears. They’ll be facing one of the league’s premier defenses. You could make a compelling case that the Bears’ linebackers corps of Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Leonard Floyd and Danny Trevathon is the best in the business.
But if the Packers’ offensive line holds up and keeps Rodgers clean, he could carve up the Bears’ secondary, one that has former Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the starting unit. Clinton-Dix couldn’t cut it in Green Bay and then he couldn’t cut it in Washington. You can go to the bank the Packers will pick on him, early and often.
PREDICTION: Packers 24, Bears 20.