Packers visit Bears to kick off season

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The Green Bay Packers will go on the road to play the Chicago Bears at 7:20 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, Sept. 5.

  • Thursday will mark game No. 199 in the NFL’s oldest rivalry. The Packers hold a 97-95-6 edge in the series, which includes two playoff games (1-1).
  • It marks the first time the Packers have opened the season against the Bears in back-to-back seasons since playing them three years in a row in openers from 1979-81
  • It marks the fourth time in team history that Green Bay has opened at Chicago (1979, 1981, 2015).
  • It is the third time in five years that the Packers have opened the season against the Bears (at Chicago in 2015, vs. Chicago in 2018)
  • The division rivals square off in a prime-time contest for the 14th consecutive season, tied with Dallas-New York Giants for the longest current streak.
  • Six of the last seven games between the two teams at Soldier Field have been decided by single digits.
  • Including the postseason, Green Bay has won eight of the last nine games at Soldier Field.
  • Including a 2010 playoff victory at Chicago, Green Bay has won 21 of the last 26 meetings between the rivals at Soldier Field.
  • This will be the 18th time in the last 19 years that Green Bay has opened the season against an NFC opponent.
  • Head Coach Matt LaFleur will become the first Packers coach to play his first official league contest outside of Wisconsin.

RODGERS AND THE BEARS

  • With Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback, Green Bay is 17-5 (including playoffs) against the Bears, with one loss coming in 2013 after Rodgers left the game with an injury after the first series.
  • In the 22 games against Chicago, Rodgers has an overall passer rating of 103.7 and has posted a 100-plus passer rating in six of the last nine matchups, including a rating of 130.7 in the season opener last year.
  • Of the players that have attempted 250 or more passes against the Bears, (including playoffs) Rodgers’ 103.7 passer rating is No. 1 in league history (No. 2 - Drew Brees, 95.4).
  • Rodgers has six games with a passer rating of 125-plus against the Bears, ranking No. 1 among NFL quarterbacks. No other NFL quarterback has more than one against Chicago over that time span. It is also the most by any QB against the Bears in NFL history (min. 15 att.).

WITH THE CALL

NBC will broadcast the game to a national audience. Play-byplay man Al Michaels joins analyst Cris Collinsworth in the booth with Michele Tafoya reporting from the sidelines.

  • Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 50 stations in four states. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (analyst) call the action. McCarren first joined the team’s broadcasts in 1995 and enters his 25th season calling Packers games. After originally being paired together in 1999, McCarren and Larrivee enter their 21st season of broadcasts together. They surpassed Jim Irwin and Max McGee for the most regular-season and postseason games broadcast for the Packers with 313 at the 2018 season opener against Chicago.
  • Westwood One Sports will air the game on radio across the country. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Kurt Warner (analyst) will call the action and Hub Arkush will report from the sidelines with Jim Gray hosting the pregame and halftime shows.
  • The broadcast is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio (WTMJ feed).

THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT

Packers vs. Bears:

  • Regular season, all-time: 96-94-6
  • All-time, postseason: 1-1
  • All-time, in Chicago: 49-53-2
  • Streaks: The Packers have won five out of the last six regularseason games against Chicago and 17 of the last 21 meetings.
  • Last meeting, regular season: Dec. 16, 2018, Soldier Field, Bears won, 24-17

COACHES CAPSULES

  • Matt LaFleur: 0-0-0, .000; 1st NFL season
  • Matt Nagy: 12-5, .706, (incl. 0-1 postseason); 2nd NFL season
  • Head to Head: 0-0
  • vs. Opponent: Nagy 1-1 vs. Packers

MATT LaFLEUR…In his first season as the Packers’ 15th head coach.

  • Entering his 11th season in the NFL, having served as an offensive coordinator for two seasons (Los Angeles Rams, 2017; Tennessee Titans, 2018), a quarterbacks coach for six seasons (Washington Redskins, 2010-13; Atlanta Falcons, 2015-16), and an offensive assistat for two seasons (Houston Texans, 2008-09).
  • Guided the Titans’ offense in 2018 to a No. 7 league ranking in rushing (126.4 ypg) as Tennessee registered 11 games with 100-plus rushing yards, tied for No. 2 in the NFL.
  • Helped the Rams lead the league in scoring with an average of 29.9 points per game in 2017, more than doubling their average from 2016 (14.0 ppg).
  • Tutored QB Matt Ryan, who led the league in passer rating (117.1) in 2016 on his way to being named NFL Most Valuable Player by The Associated Press.
  • Coached rookie QB Robert Griffin III with the Redskins in 2012, who became the first QB in team history to win AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

MATT NAGY…Is in his second year as the Bears’ 16th head coach.

  • Led the Bears to a 12-4 regular-season record in his first season as head coach, earning a postseason appearance and taking home Associated Press and PFWA Coach of the Year honors in 2018.
  • Guided a Chiefs offense that ranked No. 5 in the NFL in total offense with 375.4 yards per game and finished sixth in the league in points per game (25.9) in 2017.
  • Owns 11 seasons of NFL coaching experience, serving on the Philadelphia Eagles’ staff from 2008-12 and working with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013-17, including one year (2017) as offensive coordinator.
  • Played six seasons at quarterback in the Arena Football League, completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 18,866 yards, 374 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 115.1.

THE PACKERS-BEARS SERIES

  • One of the most storied rivalries in professional sports, these two teams will kickoff the NFL’s 100th season with their 199th matchup - the most in NFL history.
  • Starting in 1923, the clubs met for 59 straight years until both games in 1982 were canceled as part of a strike-shortened season.
  • Have only met in the postseason twice, with the last meeting coming following the 2010 season. With a berth in Super Bowl XLV on the line, the Packers emerged victorious, 21-14, at Soldier Field.
  • With two wins over the Bears in 2017, Green Bay took and maintained the advantage in the series for the first time since leading 11-10-4 following the 1932 season.
  • Green Bay is 17-5 against Chicago with QB Aaron Rodgers as the starter.

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS

Packers S Adrian Amos was drafted by Chicago in 2015 and spent the previous four seasons with the Bears…Packers head coach Matt LaFleur worked with Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand in 2014 season Notre Dame… Packers assistant offensive line coach Luke Butkus is from Bloom Township, Illinois, and attended the University of Illinois. Butkus, who was signed as a rookie free agent by the Bears in 2002, is the nephew of Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. Butkus was the offensive line coach at his alma mater (2012, 2016-18) and served as the Bears’ assistant offensive line coach (2007-09)…Bears defensive assistant Chris Jackson appeared in two games for the Packers at wide receiver from 2002-2003…Packers CB Will Redmond was coached by Chicago’s secondary coach Deshea Townsend at Mississippi State…Bears DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by Green Bay and played for the Packers for five seasons...Green Bay players with connections to Illinois include: WR Geronimo Allison (Illinois), T Bryan Bulaga (Woodstock), LB James Crawford (Illinois), WR Jake Kumerow (Bartlett, Illinois), DL Dean Lowry (Rockford, Northwestern), DL Tyler Lancaster (Plainfield, Northwestern), TE Robert Tonyan (McHenry) and Danny Vitale (Wheaton, Northwestern). Lowry, Lancaster, Vitale and Packers S Ibraheim Campbell all played at Northwestern…Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy was the athletic director at Northwestern from 2003-07...Packers personnel executive Lee Gissendaner played wide receiver at Northwestern (1990-93)... Packers assistant chief of staff Joe McKillip served as a football operations graduate assistant (2011) and then as the assistant director of football operations and on-campus recruiting coordinator (2012) at Northern Illinois... Chicago assistant offensive line coach Donovan Raiola played for the Wisconsin Badgers from 2002-05...Bears director of player engagement Lamar Campbell also played collegiately at Wisconsin (1994-97)...Chicago general manager Ryan Pace was the director of pro scouting for New Orleans when the club drafted Packers TE Jimmy Graham in the third round of the 2010 draft...During Pace’s tenure working for the Saints from 2001-14, Packers executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball served on the New Orleans staff...Graham teamed with Bears QB Chase Daniel (2010-12) and DL Akiem Hicks (2012-14) in New Orleans. Graham also played alongside Chicago OL Bradley Sowell (2016), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (2016) and RB Mike Davis (2017) while in Seattle...Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, assistant defensive backs coach Ryan Downard and Chicago special teams coordinator Chris Tabor coached together for the Browns from 2014-15...Tabor and Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga worked together in Cleveland for seven seasons (2011-17)…Green Bay TE Marcedes Lewis played with Chicago DB Prince Amukamara and WR Allen Robinson in Jacksonville...Packers secondary coach Jason Simmons was teammates with Chicago quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone on the Houston Texans from 2003-05...Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith and Bears head coach Matt Nagy were on the Kansas City coaching staff together for two seasons (2016-17)...Packers K Mason Crosby played at Colorado in 2006 while Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich served in the same role...Green Bay WR Equanimeous St. Brown played at Notre Dame while Chicago offensive line coach Hiestand and Raiola were on the coaching staff...Bears wide receivers coach Matt Furrey played for Washington when both LaFleur and Packers inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti were on the staff (2010)...Bears WR Taylor Gabriel signed as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland in 2014 when Pettine was the head coach...Gabriel and Bears DT Nick Williams played for the Falcons when LaFleur was quarterbacks coach…Bears DB Buster Skrine was also coached by Pettine on the Browns in 2014…Pettine also worked with Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano in Baltimore (2008)...Bears OL Cornelius Lucas was on the Los Angeles Rams’ roster while LaFleur was the offensive coordinator… Former college teammates include: Packers CB Tony Brown, P JK Scott and Bears DB Eddie Jackson (Alabama); Packers CB Josh Jackson and Bears OL James Daniels (Iowa); Packers S Darnell Savage and Bears LB Josh Woods (Maryland); Amos and Bears WR Allen Robinson III (Penn State); Packers LB Kyler Fackrell and Bears LS Patrick Scales (Utah State).

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