Even though several Green Bay Packers declared Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears a must-win after falling to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football, not everyone is buying that the weight of the world falls exclusively on the team wearing green-and-gold.
In fact, Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the pressure is on the Chicago Bears entering this edition of the NFL’s longest-standing rivalry.
Maybe something is actually there:
Pernell McPhee said of his Bears: "We know our season's kind of on the line going into this game. [A win] would mean a lot, and it would show you how much growth we've had as a team."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) November 9, 2017
If the shoe fits, wear it. Even if it feels strange because you’re not accustomed to wearing it on this foot.
Oddsmakers have set the Bears as favorites to beat the Packers this week and the line has only grown since the team opened up as 3-point favorites. To put this in perspective, 10 different quarterbacks have started for the Bears since they were last favored to beat Green Bay in a single game.
The Bears do seem to have an advantage at quarterback this week, though, as rookie Mitch Trubisky’s upside and athleticism trump an inexperienced and underwhelming Brett Hundley. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy might publicly back his QB, but the player he’s spent the better part of three years grooming for this situation hasn’t done much to move the offense, save for some garbage time scores. Trubisky has his own issues and his self-evaluation seems spot on, but still, he’s the better bet.
Perhaps the pressure lies in the Bears defense potentially being good enough to slow down the Packers offense. After all, GM Ryan Pace built this group with the idea of stopping Aaron Rodgers in mind … and won’t even have to see him in Week 10. In all seriousness, the Bears defense is good and it’s a shame the offense hasn’t carried its share of the load this season. Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio has this group playing its best ball since the Lovie Smith era and has forced eight turnovers in their last three games to earn praise and a ranking among the NFL’s five best.
Of course, both teams have some semblance of pressure going into Week 10. The Packers are holding on to their fading playoff chances with the hope of treading water until Rodgers is eligible to return from injured reserve for one last hurrah. The Bears, meanwhile, are fighting for respectability and to prove the team can take advantage of golden opportunities.
If Green Bay doesn’t win, it finds itself in new territory with a clear playoff picture that has the Packers on the outside looking in for the first time since 2008. If Chicago doesn’t win, new questions will arise regarding Fox’s future and how far along Pace’s rebuild truly is after three years. In short, there is a lot at stake considering a 3-5 team is going up against rivals who are 4-4.
So, who’s wearing the pressure anyway?