Bill just posted his thoughts on what he believes will be a special season in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Weigh in by clicking here.
Chicago Bears (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0).
Kickoff: Sunday, 7:20 p.m.
TV: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Andrea Kremer).
Series: 177th regular-season meeting. Bears lead the most frequently played series in NFL history, 90-80-6. Bears lost at Lambeau Field 37-3 last year but won the four previous meetings in Green Bay, all by seven points or more.
The Packers will be without kick returner Will Blackmon and first-round draft pick B.J. Raji tonight. The Bears have no big names on their inactive list and will have veteran Charles Tillman starting at cornerback.
Packers: CB Will Blackmon, RB Brandon Jackson, CB Brandon Underwood, FB Quinn Johnson, LB Brad Jones, G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith, OT Breno Giacomini and DL B.J. Raji.
Bears: WR Juaquin Iglesias, WR Devin Aromashodu, CB D.J. Moore, S Josh Bullocks, G Lance Louis, DT Matt Toeaina, TE Michael Gaines, DT Jaron Gilbert.
Keys to the game
Lacking elite wideouts, new Bears QB Jay Cutler might be forced to go the route of the last meeting when TEs Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark combined for nine receptions while the wide receivers totaled just three. The Packers' new 3-4 scheme was effective during the preseason and CBs Al Harris and Charles Woodson are still strong in coverage. RB Matt Forte will remain the key as the Bears test the Packers' transformation and whether Green Bay has the defensive personnel up front to clog the rushing lanes. ... QB Aaron Rodgers enjoyed an excellent preseason and the Packers would appear to have far more weapons in the passing game than the Bears' thin secondary can cope with. Chicago must rush the passer better than it did last season, but the mobile Rodgers wasn't brought down once during the preseason. Packers RB Ryan Grant enters this season healthy and although he lacks elite speed, he rarely gets caught for negative plays.
The Bears have an NFL-best 172 takeaways since Lovie Smith took over as coach in 2004. ... These division rivals meet in Week 1 for just the third time in the past 28 years. ... Smith is 7-3 agaainst the Packers; Mike McCarthy is 2-4 against Chicago.
Packers — RB Brandon Jackson, doubtful (ankle); CB Will Blackmon, questionable (thigh); DL B.J. Raji, questionable (ankle); QB Matt Flynn, probable, (right shoulder); S Aaron Rouse, probable (hamstring).
Aaron Rodgers on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler: Well, he's got a big-time arm. A lot of confidence. I think one of the greatest assets a quarterback can have is confidence in themselves because it can be contagious and it's important, you have to have confidence you can make all the throws on the field and obviously Jay has that confidence in himself. He's got a big-time arm. He's put together a couple very good seasons the last couple of years and done some good things. I think his ability and physical ability to move in the pocket and make plays outside the pocket can add an extra dimension to that offense. So it's going to be important for us to keep him in the pocket and keep him confused and give him some different looks, which I'm sure we'll try to do.
Charles Woodson, on the Bears' offense with Cutler: They are who they are. Jay can make every throw, he's a good quarterback, but their offense is what they are. We don't see a whole lot changing. As long as we go out and do what we're supposed to do, we'll be fine.
Nick Barnett on Bears running back Matt Forte: What you see on film is what you see. He's a good runner, he cuts back, he picks the holes, he sticks his head down and just runs. He's obviously a good receiver out of the backfield and can make some catches. You've got to be able to defend both of those threats.
Dom Capers on Bears left tackle Orlando Pace: He's still a big, physical man. He gets his sights on you, it's hard to get away because he's so doggone big and strong. He's one of the premier left tackles in the league.
Rodgers, on the Bears' penchant for forcing turnovers: I think, yeah, that's on your mind everytime you play Chicago. We played them two years ago and were really moving the ball well at home and then we had a couple fumbles, which kind of gave them the momentum back. We played them here at home last year and took care of the ball except for my one ill-advised interception and scored 37 points on them. And then went down there and gave the ball away again. They thrive on turnovers. They get a lot of guys around the ball. (Corners Charles) Tillman and (Nathan) Vasher and (linebacker Lance) Briggs like to slap the ball out and (defensive end) Alex Brown is very opportunistic up front. So you've got to take care of the ball. But I think we'd like to carry over a lot of things we did in the preseason and build on it as we put in new wrinkles and try to keep that momentum going.