Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week 1 - The Packers and the Bears: Battle Ready

One of NFL’s oldest rivalries is set to renew when the Green Bay Packers take on the Chicago Bears at home in week one of the upcoming NFL season.

While fans of both sides will be hoping for victories against each other, many now have a common agenda; that the Vikings, with their newly acquired Favre, lose badly even when they play the opponents of this fixture. Favre’s inclusion into the Vikings has been in the news of late and is certainly receiving mixed reactions.

Bears fans have every reason to dislike Favre. This can either be simply because he once wore a Packer uniform, or because of the excessive hype he’s always received. Many Packers’ fans no longer like Favre because ne no longer wears their colors. Either ways, a Bears and Viking game is bound to have some Packers supporting the Bears, and vice versa; history in the making.

Coming back to the Packers Vs the Bears game, punters aren’t really expecting too much movement in the betting line unless unexpected injuries crop up in either side. While both these times are expected to get better through the season, the Packers could very well end up being the better of the two in this season’s NFC North battle.

The odds for the Bears are placed slightly lower than the odds for the Packers (the Bears +184 as compared to the Packers +200). The Vikings, on the other hand, have the shortest odds (+162). While this might not be he league’s best division, it can surely be looked upon as being amongst the most competitive.

See all of week one's and preseason's NFL odds here.

While the Bears’ offence over the last season has gone up a notch, their defense seems to be heading in the opposite direction. Also, the absence of the two times ‘All Pro’ Mike Brown will put considerable pressure on the team. The Bears also need to find an all important pass rush in order to emerge victorious.

However, fans as well as experts are of the opinion that the presence of Jay Cutler will turn tides in favor of the Bears; their last season’s 9 – 7 record notwithstanding. That, after all, was attributed to the team’s fairly inconsistent quarterback performances. Cutler is someone who can be seen to help his team in both sides on the field. While his offensive play is known to be right up there, he can also be of considerable help in the defense.

The Green Bay Packers can definitely not be written off and they have truly made this NFC North season into a three team battle. With a good season of fourth quarter plays and a changed 3 – 4 defense, they could definitely be in the reckoning. While a lot depends on Aaron Rodgers, if he comes through and if the team’s defense can make quick adjustments, the Packers could very well be the pick of the season.

Which ever way the tides turn this season, one thing can surely be expected. Owing to the signing of Brett Favre by the Minnesota Vikings, Packers and Bears fans are going to be a little less hungry for each others blood.

Written By Rajiv Baniwal