The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will renew acquaintances at Lambeau Field on Sunday night, and the Bears are hoping to come away from the divisional game with a victory.
The Bears have a new head coach in Matt Nagy, several new stars on their roster, and a chip on their shoulder as they try to take a big step forward in the rebuilding process under G.M. Ryan Pace.
Here are five keys to victory for the Bears as they seek out a victory on opening night:
Make Green Bay One-Dimensional
The Packers are going to try to get their running game going with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery, but the Bears have to be solid up front in an effort to prevent them from doing so. That job will largely fall to Eddie Goldman, who just signed a new contract extension, and Adrian Amos, who is also looking to get paid.
Keep Mitchell Trubisky Upright
This seems like a pretty obvious key, but the team’s offensive line has struggled a bit at times, and they’ll need to begin to gel together as the season gets going. That job will fall largely to veterans like Charles Leno and Kyle Long, and Cody Whitehair will need to be strong up the middle after a rough preseason at the center spot.
Use Running Backs Effectively
The Bears are going to split out Tarik Cohen a lot in their game plan, but they can’t forget about Jordan Howard. One of the top rushers in the NFL, Howard is an incredible weapon that could keep the Packers from keying in on the Bears’ passing game, and if he can get going on the ground, it will kill clock and keep the Packers on their toes.
Get Anthony Thomas Moving Around
The Bears will have plenty of exotic looks for Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen, but Anthony Miller’s speed and athleticism could be just as key to the team’s success. The rookie could open up a lot of space for Allen Robinson and Kevin White if he can get going early, and he could find a good rapport with Trubisky in this game.
Clean Special Teams Play
This key seems super obvious, but the Bears have struggled in this area over the last few seasons. Now, with a healthy group and a new coordinator manning the sidelines, the team has a chance to turn over a new leaf on special teams, and to prevent simple mistakes that hand the Packers free yardage.