Its week two of the NFL season and there have already been a lot of fun and interesting surprises. Houston beat Indianapolis in their first meeting this season. Kansas City has shocked the league with a 2-0 start, and the Redskins and Bears have caused Dallas to stumble into and 0-2 record. We now wonder, were these just fluke games, or are some of these teams the real deal? In the case of the Chicago Bears, I think they are on the path for success.
After floundering for 3 seasons and missing the playoffs, the Bears are off to and 2-0 start. They are currently preparing to battle their undefeated rivals the Green Bay Packers at home on Monday Night Football. Here are some fun facts about these two teams rivalry. No two teams have faced each other more times than the Bears and Packers. The Bears lead the all time series 90-82-6, and are 1-0 against the Packers in the postseason. The Bears also lead the series 19-18-0 at home in Soldier Field against Green Bay. However, the Bears are not the only ones with bragging rights in this rivalry. the Packers hold the lead 5-4 on Monday Night Football, and during the Brett Favre era, Green Bay enjoyed an 18-2 record against the Bears from 1994-2002. Only four times in NFL history has a team had a better 20 game record facing an individual opponent. So, there is a lot of emotion and tradition behind this game.
There is also a lot on the line for both teams, because whomever wins this is in the uncontested lead in the NFC north. This game puts either team significantly closer to a playoff berth this season. The other two teams in the NFC North, the Vikings and the Lions are 0-2 and the Lions already have a loss to the Bears. If the other teams in the division can't get things going soon, they will be out of the race completely.
So, the reasons that I am giving this one to the Bears are as follows. Last year, both meetings between Chicago and Green Bay were close, but the Packers were able to secure the victory both times and sweep the Bears in 2009. As a result, the Bears will are playing with a chip on their shoulder every game this year, and it all starts with Green Bay. Jay Cutler set the tone of the season the first game in Lambeau field by throwing interceptions-o-plenty. Cutler has been playing smarter this year, and I think he will protect the ball better in this meeting. In addition to protecting the football, the Bears went out and picked up Julius Peppers in the off-season. He has been impressive so far, and should be able to help generate pressure on Rodgers. That is something the Bears definitely lacked last season. As a result Chicago is an improved team from last year.
The final reason that trumps all of the above though is turnovers. Chicago has the second most created turnovers in the NFL right now, and during Lovie Smith's tenure they have the most in the league. Period. If they continue to average the amount of turnovers that they have been creating this season they will be on par for 48. When they went to the Super Bowl in 2006, they had 46. They have been putting a major emphasis on stealing the ball and it is showing. I don't expect that to stop.
The Bears will not let themselves get swept by Green Bay again this season, and I think they will get it done at home on Monday night.
Bears- 24 Packers - 21