After defeating the Dallas Cowboys (6-7) last Thursday night, the Chicago Bears (7-6) travel up north to take on the hated Green Bay Packers (10-3) once again. This is a game of ultra importance. The Bears are still hanging on in the NFC Playoff race by winning four of their last five games.
Are the 2019 Chicago Bears Similar to the 2010 Green Bay Packers?
All of this NFC playoff talk has reminded us of 2010. You may recall that the Bears and Packers were in opposite positions that year. Chicago won the NFC North with a record of 11-5 while the Packers were in the hunt for the Wild Card. Sure enough, the Packers earned a Wild Card spot with a 10-6 record by winning their last two games, including a defeat of the Bears in the regular-season finale at Lambeau Field by a score of 10-3.
Head coach Lovie Smith‘s Bears had a chance to knock Green Bay out of the playoffs but couldn’t get it done in Week 17. It came back to haunt Chicago when the Packers beat the Bears 21-14 in the NFC Championship at Soldier Field on their way to winning Super Bowl XLV. You might remember this game as the infamous ‘Jay Cutler injury’ game. He sprained his MCL in the first half and had to come out of the game at halftime. Some fans labeled Cutler soft, a loser, a me-first player. It’s a shame how that all went down. The bottom line was Cutler was indeed hurt, couldn’t help the team, and it iced his legacy in Chicago when Caleb Hanie couldn’t finish the second-half comeback. Then when Green Bay won the Super Bowl, the nail was hammered in the coffin regarding Jay Cutler for many Bears fans.
Reversal of Fortune?
In order to make the playoffs, the 2019 Chicago Bears need to win their last three games (at Green Bay, vs Kansas City, at Minnesota) while the Minnesota Vikings (9-4) lose at least one of their other two matchups (at L.A. Chargers, vs Green Bay). In that scenario, the Bears would hold the tiebreaker over Minnesota by winning both head-to-head matchups this year.
In addition to the Bears edging out the Vikings, they must also beat out the L.A. Rams (8-5), who own the tiebreaker over Chicago by winning that Sunday night game 17-7 just a few weeks ago. Therefore, the Bears need Los Angeles to lose at least two games out of their last three (at Dallas, at San Francisco, vs Arizona).
Imagine If the Bears Indeed Qualify for the Playoffs
Could 2019 be the year that the Bears return the favor to the Packers? Green Bay will most likely win the NFC North this year and if the Bears could just sneak into the playoff field I have a feeling that opponents won’t be super excited to face the Bears and their dominant defense (more dominant once Akiem Hicks returns, which could be as soon as this week) and an improving offense. What if Chicago faced the Packers at Lambeau Field in the NFC Divisional Round, or better yet, in the NFC Championship? What if the Bears, gulp, won that game to advance to Super Bowl LIV? How unbelievable would that be for Bears fans who have always had the scepter of the Packers rivalry to deal with for three decades straight?
2010 Green Bay Packers and 2019 Chicago Bears Similarities
The 2010 Packers didn’t win the NFC North largely because of a litany of injuries. They ended the season with 15 players on injured reserve, including eight starters. Players like tight end Jermichael Finley, offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, running back Ryan Grant, linebackers Brady Poppinga, Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar, and Brad Jones, and safety Morgan Burnett.
In the same way, this season’s Bears have had plenty of injuries. Offensive guard Kyle Long, tight ends Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen, defensive end Akiem Hicks, linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith, and defensive back and special teams ace Sherrick McManis have all been placed on I.R. with only Hicks likely to return. That’s a list of seven players, mostly all starters. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, defensive end Bilal Nichols, and cornerback Prince Amukamara have also missed at least one start with injuries. This looks like the 2010 Packers, doesn’t it?
Another similarity between the two teams is the fact that if the Bears make the playoffs, they will certainly be the six-seed. In 2010, the Packers (10-6) were seeded sixth and had to beat the second-seeded Bears on the road in the NFC Championship. Likewise, the Packers are going to qualify for the NFC Playoffs unless a volcano erupts up in Lake Superior. So that means the sixth-seeded Bears (likely at 10-6) will need to win in Lambeau Field in the NFC Playoffs to continue their march to Super Bowl LIV.
Regarding the quarterbacks, the 2010 Packers rode a super-hot Aaron Rodgers to the promised land. He’s never been that locked-in since. In the same regard, Mitchell Trubisky is riding a wave the size of the infamous Mavericks waves off the coast of California. Could history be repeating itself almost a decade later?
“Cocktails & Dreams”
Some of you might think we’re dreaming like Brian Flanagan (played by Tom Cruise) in the movie “Cocktail” when we came up with this scenario. That is likely true. However, sometimes dreams do come true. First, it all starts with a win at Green Bay in Week 15. On Sunday, look for the 2019 Chicago Bears to pick up where they left off with Dallas. The dream lasts another week.
Chicago Bears 20, Green Bay Packers 19