Forget the history, this is about now

Packers-Bears is a rivalry again


GREEN BAY—It's a rivalry again. Why? Because Packers-Bears is about big games and big plays and memorable moments, again, after a couple of years of lopsided scores and uneventful circumstances.

Packers-Bears is a rivalry again mostly because the Bears have made it a rivalry. The Bears are back. They're 2-1 and coming off road wins on America's two coasts.

The team the Packers rallied to beat to claim the division title on the final day of the 2013 season, with one of the most dramatic plays in Packers-Bears history, has a defense this season.

Packers-Bears is a rivalry again because the sting of that touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb hasn't worn off, and Soldier Field will likely be an angry place this Sunday.

All of this is good because a rivalry without mutual intensity is just a history lesson, which is what Packers-Bears had become. Not this year. Nope. This year isn't about all of those sentimental events that are the focus of Packers team historian Cliff Christl's life. Move over, Cliff. This one is about now.

A Packers win would erase the bitter memory of last Sunday's loss in Detroit. With a Packers win, all would be right in Packernation. I don't have to describe the flip side other than to say your life would be beyond miserable.

Yeah, it's a rivalry again.

Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Bears.

1. Stop the run – It would make the Bears one-dimensional and allow the Packers to tee off on Jay Cutler, and that's largely been the Packers' formula for beating the Bears in recent years.

2. Run the ball – That's how you open the passing lanes.

3. Beat the coverage – Good receivers beat double coverage.

4. Buy in –Whatever the game plan or the play call is, commit totally to it and make it work.

5. Do it again –The Packers secondary was outstanding last week in limiting Calvin Johnson's effectiveness. This week, Brandon Marshall is the challenge.

6. Two hands on the ball – Charles Tillman won't play, but his "Peanut Punch" lives on. Receivers beware.

7. Make Rodgers the star – He's "The Man." Everything is built around him. Aaron Rodgers must be this team's star for it to be the best it can be. Whatever it takes, do it.

8. Block Jared Allen – Making Rodgers the star begins with blocking Allen.

9. Test Fuller with Nelson – Kyle Fuller is a sensational talent, but he's still a rookie. Jordy Nelson is the best Fuller will have faced.

10. Feel the moment – It's only Week 4, but this is big.


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