Little known fact at CSB is that ol' Wade Bloggs is a winner-picker as clearly shown through the countless (maybe 15 if I'm lucky) blogs about the Mets and Knicks. But when it comes to football, I'm a true traitor. Yes part of my heart lies with the Jets and my old Glenn Foley jersey. But I was born into a Green Bay Packer family that's never been to Wisconsin, and I root for the Green and Gold on Sundays.
So this Thursday is of particular interest to me and CSB. The best part of being a Packer fan is owning the Packers. The second best part of being a Packer fan is having Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers at quarterback for the entirety of my life. But the THIRD best part about being a Packer fan is that the Packers play in primetime like 75% of the season. I swear one year they had like 7 Monday Night and 4 Sunday Night games. It's awesome not only because I live in New York City so I can't watch them weekly on my local broadcast channels, but most importantly it doesn't interrupt my NFL Redzone Sundays. Which if I had to choose between watching a 3 hour Packer game and 3 hours of Redzone from 1-4pm, I'm choosing Redzone 9/10 times. 1 time I might choose only the Packers game, can't rule it out. Redzone is just too amazing though. Except Scott Hanson. Fuck Scott Hanson.
The Packers have played the NFL Kickoff Game 3 times since 2011. That's music to my ears. Last year they didn't have the Thursday night opener, but they played the week 1 Sunday Night game. I don't know if everyone notices that the Packers own primetime games or if I'm letting the cat out of the bag, but if you never noticed shut up about it so the NFL doesn't change it.
Alright are you here for the preview? Here's the preview:
THE PACK IS BACK
The Packers are coming off a disappointing 6-9-1 season (I hate that damn tie) that cost Mike McCarthy his job and had the doubters coming out of the woodwork questioning if Rodgers' tenure was winding down. It's time to quiet those haters ASAP with a week 1 performance against the league's top ranked defense.
Aaron Rodgers has flat out owned the Bears in his career. The Packers are 17-5 against Chicago with Rodgers under center. At least half of those wins can be credited to Jay Cutler throwing 4+ picks, but Rodgers still dominates da bearssss.
Let's take a look under the hood at ARodg's lifetime stats against Chicago:
Completion percentage: 66.26%
Passing Yards: 5,400
Passing Touchdowns: 45
Passer Rating: 103.9
Times He's Teabagged Them: 7
Which has led to a 16-5 regular season record and a 1-0 playoff record.
"Hey Aaron. Aaron! Over here. Wade Bloggs, CSB. Are you nervous about playing the Bears in week 1 on a national stage?"
"OK Thanks Aaron. That mustache is awesome by the way. You're the man."
On a more technical note, aside from the fact the Packers never lose to the Bears with Aaron Rodgers starting, here is what Green Bay has to look forward to on Thursday night:
NEW AND IMPROVED DEFENSE
General Manager Brian Gutenkunst (good luck growing up with that name) made a splash in free agency in his second year on the job, something the Packers historically never do. Every Green Bay team is built through the draft with 1 or 2 trades sprinkled in. Not on Gutenkunsts watch. Ole 'Kunstsy went out and signed two big edge rushers, Preston Smith & Za'darius Smith, to replace the two guys he let go, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Both guys, especially Clay Matthews obviously, were longtime Packers and it's sad to see them go. Gut Gut Hike has a lot riding on his decision to straight up cut Clay Matthews after Clay openly said he would take a big pay cut to stay in Green Bay to finish his career. Let's hope the Packers can finally get after the passer this season with the addition of the Smith Bros.
Gutenkunst also cut fan favorite Mike Daniels from the defensive line. Daniels made the Pro Bowl in 2017 and spent the first seven years of his career in Green Bay. His production was mostly unnoticed, such is the life of an interior defensive lineman, but he had a hell of a push on that D Line especially for being only 6 foot. Daniels wound up signing with division rival Detroit to play next to perennial all-pro Damon 'Snacks' Harrison. You can be sure MD76 will be pumped up to play against his old team so pray for Corey Linsley in week 6. The release of Daniels solidifies Kenny Clark, former 1st rd pick out of UCLA, as the stalwart of the DL with Dean Lowry and Montravius Adams holding down the other two spots to begin the season.
(Side Note: I fucking LOVE Montravius Adams. Third round pick in the 2017 draft out of Auburn. 6-4 300 lbs. Hasn't gotten much playing time yet in the pros but with Daniels gone he should get plenty this season. He wore #1 at Auburn which on the DL is super badass. Credit CSB When Montravius makes his 3rd pro bowl).
The last big additions to the defense came in the secondary with the signing of former Bears safety Adrian Amos and by trading into the 1st round of the draft to select safety Darnell Savage from Maryland. These moves coincided with former 2nd round pick safety from NC State Josh Jones getting cut. Sad to see him go as he looked like a versatile athlete who the Packers just couldn't find a position for. The secondary has been a HUGE issue for the Packers ever since Charles Woodson left which tells you how long it's been a problem. With young, top drafted talent in Savage, Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Josh Jackson, plus Amos, it looks as if the Packers have a chance on paper to compete in the second level.
The Packers didn't do much on offense besides letting go of Randall Cobb which created a huge hole at WR 2 but the area they did address definitely needed addressing. Gutenkunst signed former Denver Bronco Guard Billy Turner. Hopefully Billy boy Turner isn't turning his head around too often watching the defender run by him. The OL has been anchored by David Bahktiari for a while and with Bryan Bulaga's nagging injuries it is paramount to build depth on the line and keep Aaron Rodgers upright for a full season.
At the end of the day, this offense relies on Aaron Rodgers being all-world and making plays like this
Or basically any other play he's ever made. They are all amazing.
Special Teams is the most underrated thing in any sport. It's like free throws in basketball or relief pitching in baseball. You often can't win games because of it but you sure as shit can lose games because of it. Packers return the ageless Mason Crosby and lets hope he has a chip on his shoulder because his last two seasons have been below average by his career standards. The punting unit is led by arguably Gutenkunst's best pick. Pick #172 of the 2018 draft, JK Scott from Alabama. The guy boots the shit out of the ball and hopefully will be a stud for Green Bay for years to come. Trevor Davis will handle the punt and kick return duties, at least for now. He's carved himself a nice role as a special teams player in the NFL and I trust him back there to make some plays without coughing it up.
Watch out for that guy Mack though. He's not bad.
This blog would be incomplete without a hat tip to the 2018 Sunday Night Football opener that saw Green Bay trailing 17-0 at half to Chicago, which turned to 20-0 midway through the 3rd. Rodgers and co. turned it on in the 2nd half to storm back for a 24-23 victory. Suck my dick Bears fans! People don't forget.
OFFICIAL CSB PREDICTION
Packers start slow against this tough defense with a few punts and a turnover early. They rebound in the second half similar to the opener in 2018. Packers score a late TD to take the lead, the Bears march to get into FG range but shank another game winning fg opportunity that causes Chicago to collectively shoot themselves (on twitter).
Packers 21 Bears 20.
FOR MY FRIENDS OUT WEST
For the friends out west... here are the lines
Bears -3.5 (-145)
The PICK: Packers ML +155 / Under 46.5
And with that... Nobody talk to me for the next 17 weeks as I eat chips and watch football until my eyes bleed. See the nametag? You're in my world now grandma.