GREEN BAY—The Chicago Bears haven't beaten their archrival, the Green Bay Packers, since a Monday night game in Week 3 of the 2010 season. Though it appears the Bears are facing a crossroads game at Lambeau Field on Monday night, Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman is making sure his team doesn't place too much importance on it.
Is this a must win for the 4-3 Bears against the 5-2 Packers?
"No, no," Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. "The reason I say that is because we approach every game as saying every game is important. Our team doesn't panic; we didn't panic when Jay (Cutler) went down. So this is a resilient bunch and I think we face adversity pretty well."
Trestman supported Marshall's comments with these:
"It's only one game. I think we all understand the effect it would have in the standings at this stage in the season, but there's still a whole season to play afterwards," Trestman said.
Here's the effect the outcome of this game will have on the standings: A Bears win would tie them with the Packers and the bye-week Lions for first place in the NFC North, each at 5-3, with a home game against the Lions dead ahead. A Bears loss would leave them in third place, a full two games behind the Packers.
Clearly, the difference between winning and losing is monumental for the Bears.
Not a must win? Hmmm.
Trestman is in his first season as Bears head coach. He is an offensive-minded coach who is revered for his work with quarterbacks. Having lost Cutler to injury, Trestman is counting on what he can do with Josh McCown, who gave a strong performance two weeks ago in a 45-41 loss to the Redskins.
"I think our guys saw in the Washington game that Josh came in as a veteran quarterback and was able to capture the huddle and move our football team. I think our team coming out of the Washington game has very high expectations that Josh will come in and play well, with all due respect to the Packers, and give us a very, very good chance of having success on Monday night," Trestman said.
Marshall is the Bears' leading receiver and one third of a trio of tall and talented pass catchers that includes Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett.
How does the Bears offense change without Cutler?
"It doesn't," Marshall said.
The Bears offense, however, is completely different from those of recent vintage under Lovie Smith, a defensive-minded head coach.
"It's totally different. Last year was a mix of what we used to do in Denver, but the running game was coach (Mike) Tice's, so we were all over the place and trying to make things work," Marshall said. "This year it's night and day. I think we'll have more success here because we're playing together as a team and everyone knows where they're supposed to be."
The Bears have lost six consecutive games to the Packers. The irony is that the Bears followed each of those losses with a win. If that trend was to continue, the Packers would be the beneficiary.
Does the road to the NFC North title go through Green Bay?
"I don't think about it that way because I think that every year is a new year. I didn't go in there with any kind of expectations. To think that way disrespects other teams in the division and I wouldn't want to do that. You go into every season and really do play every game on an individual basis and the schedule takes care of itself as you move along, and the division does as well," Trestman said.
Be that as it may, this one has a big-game look to it, especially for the Bears. Additional coverage - Oct. 31