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Packers take on the Bears in regular-season opener

The Green Bay Packers will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears at Soldier Field this Sunday.

  • It will be the first time since 1981 that the Packers have opened the regular season at Chicago.
  • For the third year in a row and just the fourth time in 10 seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy (2010), the Packers will open the season on the road. It is the first time since 1977-79 that the Packers have opened on the road for three consecutive seasons.
  • The last time Green Bay opened the season with a road game against a division opponent was at Detroit in 2005.
  • Including playoffs, the Packers have won five straight games at Soldier Field and six of the last seven at the stadium. Green Bay has held Chicago to 20 points or less in seven of the last eight games at Soldier Field.
  • Sunday will mark game No. 191 in the NFL’s oldest rivalry. The Bears hold a 93-91-6 edge in the series, which includes two playoff games (1-1).
  • This will mark the 53rd time the two teams have met in the month of September, with both teams recording 24 wins (24-24-4). Only seven of those September matchups took place in Chicago, and the Packers were 5-2 in those games, including a 38-17 win last season.
  • The Packers have won four of the last five matchups against the Bears in games played in September.
  • Under McCarthy, the Packers are 13-6 against the Bears during the regular and postseason, including 7-3 on the road.
  • In all but one of the 13 wins under McCarthy, Green Bay has scored at least 20 points.
  • In the 13 seasons of the NFC North (2002-14), the Packers (eight) and Bears (three) have accounted for 11 division titles.
  • Sunday is the Packers lone NFC North game in the first eight contests. Green Bay will finish the regular season with five of the final eight games against division opponents.

 

Rodgers and the Bears

  • With Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback, Green Bay is 12-3 during the regular and postseason against the Bears, with one loss coming in 2013 after Rodgers left the game with an injury after the first series.
  • In the 15 games against Chicago, Rodgers has an overall passer rating of 106.2 and has thrown for a passer rating over 100.0 in five of the last eight matchups.
  • Rodgers has guided Green Bay to four consecutive regular-season wins at Chicago, throwing for a combined 1,208 yards, 12 touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 115.2 in the four contests.
  • In the two games against the Bears last season, Rodgers completed 40 of 55 passes for 617 yards, 10 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 149.0. Green Bay scored 38 and 55 points in the two matchups against Chicago last season.

 

WITH THE CALL

  • FOX Sports, now in its 22nd season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game to a regional audience.
  • Play-by-play man Joe Buck joins color commentator Troy Aikman and sideline reporter Erin Andrews.
  • Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 50 stations in five states. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) call the action. McCarren first joined the team’s broadcasts in 1995 and enters his 21st season calling Packers’ games. McCarren has four times been voted Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. After originally being paired together in 1999, McCarren and Larrivee enter their 17th season of broadcasts together.
  • Sports USA Radio will air the game across the country. Larry Kahn (play-by-play) and Doug Plank (analyst) will call the action, with Troy West reporting from the sidelines.
  • The broadcast is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio (WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
  • DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game on channel 709.

 

STAT OF THE WEEK

  • This will be the 22nd time the Packers open the regular season against the Bears (10-10-1) and just the third time the game has been played in Chicago (1979, 1981).
  • Green Bay has played Chicago in Week 1 six times since 1970, with the Packers holding a 4-2 record in those matchups.
  • Since 1990, the Packers are 7-4 against division opponents in Week 1, including 2-1 under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
  • The last division opponent Green Bay faced in Week 1 was Chicago in 2009, a 21-15 Packers win at Lambeau Field.
  • Green Bay has 52 wins on Kickoff Weekend, second most in NFL history behind only the Chicago Bears (54 victories in Week 1). The Packers and Bears are the only teams in the NFL with 50-plus wins on Kickoff Weekend.
  • Since 2006, Green Bay is 18-9 (.667) on the road against division opponents in the regular season, tied for No. 3 in the league over that time span.
  • Green Bay has won its first road game in six of nine seasons under McCarthy.
  • With a six-game winning streak in the first road game of the season from 2006-11, McCarthy joined Vince Lombardi (eight straight, 1960-67) as the only coaches in team history to win six or more consecutive road openers.
  • The Packers hold the record for the most wins (53) in road openers in the NFL.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • A win would mark the Packers’ 10th in the last 11 matchups against the Bears during the regular and postseason, including the sixth consecutive win at Chicago, which would be the second-longest road winning streak for the Packers in the series (11, 1994-2005)
  • Green Bay is looking to score at least 30 points against the Bears for the fourth consecutive game.
  • The Packers have held the Bears to 17 points or less in four of the last six contests.
  • Seven of the last eight games played in Chicago between the two teams have been decided by 10 points or less.
  • A win would improve the Packers to 6-4 in season openers under McCarthy, including 2-2 in season openers on the road.
  • McCarthy will begin his 10th regular season as Green Bay’s head coach, passing Vince Lombardi (1959-67) and Bart Starr (1975-83) for the second-most seasons as head coach in franchise history behind Curly Lambeau’s 31 (1919-49).

OFFENSE

  • QB Aaron Rodgers looks to throw for 300-plus yards for the fourth time in the last five season openers. In 2013, Rodgers tied the franchise record for passing yards in a season opener, 333 at San Francisco.
  • If Rodgers throws for 300-plus yards, it will be the 41st 300-yard passing game of his career during the regular season.
  • Rodgers has thrown for at least two touchdowns in four of the last five season openers.
  • Including the postseason, Rodgers has won nine in a row against Chicago in games he throws at least five passes.
  • WR Randall Cobb needs one reception to extend his consecutive games with a reception to 47, including the postseason.
  • In the last three season openers, Cobb has recorded 243 yards receiving on 22 receptions (11.0 avg.) with two receiving touchdowns.
  • Cobb has registered 100-plus yards receiving in two of the last four games he has played in against the Bears, including hauling in seven receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns at Chicago last season.
  • Cobb has recorded five touchdown receptions in the last three games he has played in against the Bears.
  • RB Eddie Lacy has registered a touchdown in all four games vs. Chicago and has totaled more than 100 yards from scrimmage in two of the contests.
  • Including the postseason, Lacy has rushed for more than 90 yards in six of the last eight games.
  • Lacy finished the 2014 regular season by surpassing 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the final nine contests, the longest streak in team history, and scored at least one touchdown in six of those games.
  • WR James Jones set a career high with three receiving touchdowns at Chicago in 2012.

 

DEFENSE

  • LB Clay Matthews has 6.5 sacks in the last four games he has played in against the Bears.
  • Matthews recorded an interception he returned 40 yards at Chicago last season.
  • Matthews has registered a total of 6.5 sacks in six season openers.
  • From 2009-11, LB Julius Peppers recorded a sack in each season opener.
  • Peppers registered a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and tipped a pass that was picked off by S Morgan Burnett in the Packers’ 55-14 win over Chicago last season.
  • Burnett set a career high with 14 tackles in the 2011 season-opening win over New Orleans.
  • LB Nick Perry registered career highs with nine tackles and seven solo tackles in the 2012 season opener against San Francisco, his first NFL regular-season game.
  • S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recorded six tackles (four solo) and a sack in the 2014 season opener at Seattle.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • K Mason Crosby (1,037) needs 18 points to surpass Ryan Longwell (1,054) for the franchise record.
  • Crosby (268) is nine field-goal attempts short of Longwell (277) for the most in team history.
  • Cobb is the only player in NFL history to score on a kick return (kickoff or punt) in Week 1 of each of his first two seasons in the league (108-yard kickoff return vs. New Orleans in 2011 and a 75-yard punt return vs. San Franciso in 2012).

 

THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:

Packers vs. Bears:

  • Regular season, all-time: 90-92-6
  • All-time, postseason:  1-1
  • All-time, at Soldier Field:  24-19-0
  • Streaks: The Packers have won 9 of the last 10 meetings (including playoffs)
  • Last meeting, regular season: Nov. 9, 2014; Packers won, 55-14, Lambeau Field

 

COACHES CAPSULES

  • Mike McCarthy: 101-55-1, .643 (incl. 7-6 postseason); 10th NFL season
  • John Fox: 127-96-0, .569 (incl. 8-7 postseason); 14th NFL season
  • Head to Head: McCarthy 2-1
  • vs. Opponent: McCarthy 13-6 vs. Bears; Fox 2-4 vs. Packers

 

MIKE McCARTHY…Is in his 10th year as the Packers’ 14th head coach.

  • Joined Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches to guide the Packers to a Super Bowl title with a win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV.
  • Led the Packers to their sixth consecutive playoff appearance last season, joining New England as the only two NFL teams to do so over that span. Has also led the team to seven playoff appearances in the last eight years (2007, 2009-14).
  • Has guided the Packers to top-10 finishes in scoring each of the past eight seasons (2007-14), joining the Patriots as the only other team to accomplish the feat; Packers finished first overall in scoring in 2014.
  • His .656 winning percentage during the regular season (94-49-1) ranks No. 3 among active NFL coaches (min. 50 games).
  • Was named Packers head coach on Jan. 12, 2006, his first head-coaching job after 13 years as an NFL assistant.

 

JOHN FOX…Is in his first year as the Bears’ 15th head coach.

  • Fox led the Broncos to four division titles, joining Chuck Knox (L.A. Rams) as the only coaches in NFL history to lead their respective team to four division titles in their first four years with the franchise.
  • Between Carolina and Denver, Fox made seven trips to the postseason, captured six division titles, and made three conference championship appearances and two Super Bowl appearances.
  • One of six coaches in NFL history to lead two different teams to Super Bowl appearances (Carolina in 2003 and Denver in 2013).
  • His six seasons with at least 11 wins are third most among active head coaches.
  • Ranks fifth among active NFL head coaches with 127 overall wins.

 

THE PACKERS-BEARS SERIES

  • No two teams have met on the gridiron more than the Packers and Bears. Sunday they face off for the 191st time.
  • Starting in 1923, the clubs met for 59 straight years until both games in 1982 were canceled as part of a strike-shortened season.
  • During the 2010 season, the teams squared off in the playoffs for just the second time in the history of the series. With a berth in Super Bowl XLV on the line, the Packers emerged victorious, 21-14, in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field.    
  • The last time Green Bay led the overall series? On the heels of its three straight NFL championships, 1932, when the Packers led 11-10-5.

 

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS

Packers LB Julius Peppers played for the Bears from 2010-13...Packers DT Bruce Gaston is from Chicago and went to St. Rita High School...Packers QB Scott Tolzien attended Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill. ...Packers T Bryan Bulaga played at Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, Ill. ...Packers LB Nate Palmer went to Simeon High School and played at the University of Illinois from 2009-10...He was also born and currently resides in Chicago...Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy served as the director of athletics at Northwestern University...Bears TEs coach Frank Smith is originally from Milwaukee, Wis. ...Packers TEs coach Jerry Fontenot was a third-round draft choice of the Bears in 1989 and was a mainstay at center in his eight seasons (1989-96) in Chicago...Green Bay’s OC Edgar Bennett finished his playing career in Chicago (1998-99)...Packers defensive front asst. Jerry Montgomery played for the Chicago Rush...Packers director of player engagement Rob Davis served as Chicago’s long snapper for all 16 games in 1996...Bears LS Thomas Gafford spent the 2006 training camp and the 2008 offseason with the Packers...Bears GM Ryan Pace worked for the Saints from 2001-14 while Packers VP of football administration/player finance Russ Ball, assoc. HC/LBs Winston Moss, and special teams coordinator Ron Zook were on staff and while Packers RBs coach Sam Gash, Montgomery and Fontenot were players...Bears HC John Fox served in the same role with the Carolina Panthers while Packers DL coach Mike Trgovac and Peppers were with the squad. Fox was the DC for the Raiders from 1994-95 while Moss was a LB...Fox and Packers asst. OL coach Mike Solari played at San Diego State together...Bears OL coach Dave Magazu coached the TEs and OL in Carolina while Trgovac and Peppers were a part of the team...Bears special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers served as the special teams asst. in Carolina during Peppers’ last season in 2009...Rodgers served in the same role for the 49ers in 2005 while Packers HC Mike McCarthy was the OC...Bears DC Vic Fangio served the same role with the 49ers while Solari was the OL coach...Fangio and Packers DC Dom Capers worked alongside one another in Houston, Carolina, New Orleans, and with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars (USFL)...Bears LBs coach Glenn Pires also worked alongside Capers when the two were with the Dolphins from 2006-07...Bears DBs coach Ed Donatell coached the secondary with the 49ers while Solari coached the OL...Donatell was the DC for the Packers from 2000-03. Donatell was also the DBs coach for Denver while Packers strength and conditioning asst. Chris Gizzi was on the team as an undrafted free agent in 1998...Donatell coached DBs for the Jets from 1990-94 while Davis participated in training camp during the 1993-94 seasons...Gash was the asst. special teams coach for the Lions in 2007 while Bears OC Adam Gase was the QBs coach...Bears RBs coach Stan Drayton served as the asst. HC offense/RBs from 2012-14 at Ohio State while Packers C Corey Linsley was on the team...Drayton was the offensive quality control/special teams coach for the Packers from 2001-03...Packers secondary/CBs coach Joe Whitt Jr. assisted the DBs for the Falcons while Bears asst. OL coach Ben Wilkerson played for them...Packers college scout John Wojciechowski worked with Bears QBs coach Dowell Loggains on the Dallas Cowboys’ scouting staff in 2005...Bears OLBs coach Clint Hurtt coached at the University of Miami while Packers pro scout Glenn Cook played for the team...Packers RB Eddie Lacy and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix played at Alabama when Bears wide receivers coach Mike Groh was on the staff there...Zook was the head coach at the University of Illinois (2005-11).

 

LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON

  • Nov. 9, 2014, Lambeau Field, Packers won, 55-14
  • QB Aaron Rodgers tied the franchise record for passing TDs with six  (all in the first half) as he completed 18 of 27 passes for 315 yards (145.8 passer rating).
  • WR Jordy Nelson hauled in all six of his targets for 152 yards and two TDs.
  • DB Micah Hyde and CB Casey Hayward came away with one interception each as Hayward returned his for an 82-yard TD.
  • QB Jay Cutler completed 22 of 37 passes for 272 yards and one TD (68.8 passer rating).