Aaron Rodgers has dominated the Chicago Bears. This is a fact that does not require statistical, analytical or anecdotal support. It’s as common knowledge a statement as Nazis are bad people, Roy Scheider was criminally underrated in the 1970s and a Saturday night on the Guinness makes my apartment smell decidedly worse Sunday morning.
I am not going to Google “Aaron Rodgers Record Chicago Bears”. I don’t want to molest my current football euphoria with a bunch of grabby statistics. Rodgers has dominated the Bears because since 2010, or for the bulk of Rodgers’ prime, he’s been one of the two best quarterbacks in the league and the Bears have been shit. Rodgers’ dominance is a fact. It’s just not particularly impressive.
Sunday, Rodgers will be a five or six-point underdog at Soldier Field. He brings in a mediocre team with mediocre players. But after beating a terrible Falcons team last week and watching every other sixth-seed contender in the conference lose, the Packers are still clinging to hope of playing in January and the laundry list of what they need to occur is not particularly outlandish.
First and foremost, they have to beat the Bears at Soldier Field. Something that has not been an issue in the past.
But these are not the same old Bears. Not the same Bears from January 23rd 2011. Not the same Bears from September 9th 2018. These Bears are talented and confident. They are the best team in the NFC North and they know it. They’re also not shying away from the challenge of Aaron Rodgers in their building. Not in the slightest.
#Bears’ Akiem Hicks says he and his teammates didn’t forget Aaron Rodgers mentioning weeks back the Packers having confidence to win out in part because of their past success at Soldier Field: “I’m real excited for Aaron to come here and play this game.”
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) December 11, 2018
The Bears can become NFC North champions Sunday. In the building they’ve re-established as one of the most intimidating home field advantages in the sport. In front of the fans they’ve won over by playing a ferocious and fun brand of football. In the face of their oldest rivals and a quarterback who has stolen their lunch money for over a decade. Matt Nagy is sixty minutes of football away from wearing a shitty, league-produced NFC North Champion visor as he answers questions in his postgame presser from luminaries like Adam L. Jahns.
But they have to beat Rodgers. They have to beat the Packers. And if they do, they’ll be hosting a playoff game in January. If they do they’ll have purged – at least to some degree – the demons of Green Bay dominance.
Sunday is a remarkable opportunity for this franchise to proclaim a new era in this division. But will they seize it?