The Bears open the 2018 NFL season under the bright lights of primetime television with a “Sunday Night Football” matchup against the Packers. The Week 1 game will be the first chance for fans to see the likes of Khalil Mack, first-round pick Roquan Smith and others take the field with their new team.
Mack, Smith, Adrian Amos and Akiem Hicks will lead a defense with high expectations entering Week 1. Stopping Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offensive attack is never easy, but with an already-talented group adding Mack and Smith during the offseason, hopes are high in Chicago that an improved pass rush can rattle Green Bay’s air game.
“He’s a matchup problem, so you’re going to have to find ways to account for him in the passing game,” Rodgers said of Mack, acquired from the Raiders recently, on a conference call Wednesday. “He’s a really talented guy. He’s got a great motor. Very good player.”
On the other side of the ball, all eyes will be on second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who needs to prove he’s the real deal. Many of the franchise’s offseason moves, such as hiring head coach Matt Nagy and signing top receiver Allen Robinson, were done with Trubisky in mind.
If Trubisky can blossom in Year 2 with a better scheme and more weapons around him, the Bears’ rebuild could move forward in a hurry. However, with limited data on him from his last year at North Carolina and first year with the Bears, it remains difficult to peg just how good the young QB can become.
What’s undeniable is that the Bears could start their season off by toppling the Packers on the road Sunday night. Only one of our five experts – shoutout to Adam Jahns! – picks the Bears to win, but the recent addition of Mack to the defense make this an unexpectedly intriguing matchup against one of the top quarterbacks in league history.
How to watch Bears vs. Packers, Week 1
Kickoff time: 7:20 p.m. CT
Live stream: NBC Sports Live