NFL 2019 Week 1 Predictions

Updated: Sep 6, 2019

The 2019 NFL season kicks off tonight marking 100 years of the National Football League's dominance in American sports. As the league shifts its focus to across the Atlantic and southern border with five games taking place outside the United States this season, more eyes will be on the NFL than ever.


With that in mind, the NFL strategically scheduled two of the oldest and historic teams in league history to lead the 100-year celebration.

The Chicago Bears triumped over the Green Bay Packers 21-10 in 1977 during which the temperature reached a ghastly 10 degrees (via Chicago Tribune)

Dating back to November 27th, 1921 and totaling a combined 22 NFL Championships (13 for Green Bay and 9 for Chicago), including five Super Bowl championships (four for Green Bay and one for Chicago) and have 65 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Chicago with 34 and Green Bay with 31), the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears renew their rivalry for the 199th time.


The 2018 season could not have gone any differently for Chicago and Green Bay. The Packers faltered in almost every way as Green Bay finished under .500 for the second consecutive season. Things only worsened as Mike McCarthy was fired toward the end of the season, leaving Green Bay coach-less for the first time in 14 years.


Chicago took advantage of Green Bay's misfortune and dominated the NFC, winning 12 games en route to a Wild Card weekend matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears came out victorious due to a Cody Parkey field goal in the final seconds. Wait, Parkey missed the field goal ending Chicago's playoff hopes and continuing their three-year-long kicking woes.


As the 2019 season begins, both teams are looking to erase the nasty taste out of their mouths and what better way to do so than against each other.


GREEN BAY PACKERS (0-0) VS. CHICAGO BEARS (0-0)

In his Bears debut, Khalil Mack totaled 1 sack and interception despite Aaron Rodgers returning from injury to beat the Bears 24-23 (via CBS Sports)

The Green Bay Packers travel to Soldier Field to face off against their bitter rival the Chicago Bears. Looking to erase last season's misfortunes, the Packers used free agency and the NFL Draft to improve the league's 18th ranked defense.


Green Bay signed linebackers Za'darius Smith and Preston Smith adding a veteran presence in the front seven left by Clay Matthews (now with the Rams) and Mike Daniels (now with the Lions). The number 12 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Rashan Gary, is set to make his NFL debut tonight yet anther pass-rushing weapon to Green Bay's defense.


When it comes to the secondary, Green Bay and Chicago practically traded safeties. Adrian Amos signed a four-year, $37 million deal with the Packers, and HaHa Clinton-Dix signed a one-year deal with Chicago after a short stint in Washington following a mid-season trade from Green Bay.


Green Bay's offense also received an upgrade, or so they hope, in new head coach Matt LaFleur. During his mediocre run as Tennessee's offensive coordinator, the team finished with the league's 25th ranked offense.


Some of the blame can fall on the inconsistent Marcus Mariota, but questions still exist if LaFleur is just another assistant hired for his connection to Rams' head coach Sean McVay. LaFleur could also be the beneficiary of Aaron Rodgers.

Aaron Rodgers came in fourth place in the BushLeagueSports QB Ranking behind Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Drew Brees (via InsideHook)

While Rodgers slid down to the fourth spot our quarterback ranking, he is still an MVP-caliber talent. Last year Rodgers totaled the league's best touchdown to interception ratio at 25-2.


13 of those touchdowns were thrown in the direction of receiver Davante Adams. Following up a strong 2017 season, Adams set career highs in receptions (111), yards (1,386) and touchdowns (13).



Rodgers favorite target by far, expect Adams to play a pivotal role in tonight's game against Chicago's top-ranked secondary.


While Chicago's offense may not be able to hold their own when compared to Green Bay's, their defense can win almost any game.


Totaling 36 turnovers including a league-leading 27 interceptions, the Chicago Bears finished last season as the third-ranked defense. Led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Khalil Mack's 12.5 sacks and the ball-hawking Eddie Jackson, Chicago won't let Green Bay in the endzone easily.

When asked if he was ready to face the Packers, Bears LB said "F*%k Yes" (via Sports Mockery)

Chicago will force Rodgers to throw the ball with their dominating pass rush and talented linebackers led by Roquan Smith. Expect there to be at last two sacks on Rodgers tonight, including one from Mack.


While Chicago's defense is apt at getting interceptions, Rodgers' ability to take care of the football is unlike no other so expect any turnovers to be via fumble.



The keys to the game for both teams are very different. Green Bay must run the ball with efficiency to beat Chicago. Rodgers cannot throw the ball 50 times against this Bears defense meaning Aaron Jones will have to continue to be the 5.5 yards per carry back he was last season.


On the flip side, Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to prove he can hang with the likes of Rodgers. Luckily, Green Bay's defense, besides Amos and second-year corner Jaire Alexander, has very little depth in the secondary. Trubisky, along with Matt Nagy's play-calling, can pick apart Green Bay on short out routes. In other words, Chicago can win by playing it safe and eating the clock allowing their defense to control momentum.


Verdict:


Following a 12-4 record last season, expect the Chicago Bears to fall in the standings. Their first-place schedule will make it almost impossible to repeat last years success. With that said, Chicago will stay competitive throughout the season and that includes against the Packers on Thursday night.


Expect Tarik Cohen and rookie running back David Montgomery to see plenty of action tonight as they look to 'ground and pound' their way to victory. Trubisky will be forced to make clutch throws on third downs, which is where the Bears will falter.


In his short 26-game career, Trubiksy has struggled taking care of the football with 19 interceptions. While an improvement in his second season, Trubisky felt like a non-factor at times. In eight games last season, Trubiksy had an equal or more amount of interceptions than touchdowns. Four of those games were played at home, where he totaled nine interceptions last season.


The pressure falls on Chicago and Trubisky to maintain last year's success. For Green Bay and Rodgers, this season is about proving he is the same quarterback he once was. With that said, putting trust in someone who is proven rather than an inconsistent third-year quarterback seems like the smart bet despite how great Chicago's defense is.


Final Score: Packers 27, Bears 23


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Week 1 Predictions:


Chiefs vs. Jaguars: Chiefs 36 - Jaguars 23


Falcons vs. Vikings: Vikings 27 - Falcons 24


Titans vs. Browns: Browns 29 - Titans 24


Bills vs. Jets: Bills 27- Jets 24


Ravens vs. Dolphins: Ravens 24 - Dolphins 23


Redskins vs. Eagles: Eagles 27 - Redskins 17


Rams vs. Panthers: Rams 33 - Panthers 26


Colts vs. Chargers: Chargers 27 - Colts 21


Bengals vs. Seahawks: Seahawks 33 - Bengals 20


Giants vs. Cowboys: Cowboys 26 - Giants 17


49ers vs. Buccaneers: 49ers 26 - Buccaneers 24


Lions vs. Cardinals: Lions 27 - Cardinals 16


Steelers vs. Patriots: Steelers 30 - Patriots 24 (Sunday Night)


Texans vs. Saints: Texans 27 - Saints 26 (Monday Night)


Broncos vs. Raiders: Raiders 24 - Broncos 20 (Monday Night)


*preview photo credited to CBS Sports

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