Aaron Rodgers has to be happy now.
After a defensive battle, Rodgers and company took down the former NFC North division champions, 10-3 in the Windy City. Not bad for a team that had some question marks on both sides of the football before the season.
Mitchell Trubisky was held with no touchdowns and threw an interception late in the fourth with a chance to win the game.
Yes, it was the start that the Packers wanted, but there are still 15 games left.
Here are four takeaways from the Packers and Bears game.
1. There could be as many as three top-ten defenses in the NFC North this season.
Let’s be honest. The Packers shut down a Chicago Bears offense that isn’t exactly potent. Nonetheless, after what Rodgers has had to go through for the last few seasons, it’s a good start.
The Packers held the Bears to 46 rushing yards the entire game one year removed from being ranked 22nd in rushing defense last year. The Packers allowed 119 yards a game, but they were looking to improve in that department. They did.
Green Bay made it tough for Trubisky to put the ball in the redzone, and used effective special teams play to win the field position battle for most of the game.
1st-round rookie Safety Darnell Savage wasn’t too shabby in his debut as part of a Packers defense that also mustered five sacks on Trubisky. On the flip side, the Bears defense was its usual dominant self by getting to Rodgers early and often.
A healthy Aaron Rodgers wasn’t able to come up with many chunk plays, but did enough to get the win despite being sacked five times.
Trubisky may have thrown for more yards than Rodgers (Trubisky finished 25 of 45 for 228 yards, no touchdowns, and one pick while Rodgers went 18-30 for 203 yards with a touchdown), but the Packers defense wasn’t going to let that game slip.
Former Bears safety Adrian Amos came away with the interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Packers.
Throw in the fact that the Vikings have boasted a top ten defense the last couple seasons, and you possibly have three of the best defenses in football in one division. That is only IF the Packers can continue to dominate.
2. Leonard Floyd already proving to be worthy partner-in-crime to Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack may now have somewhat of a partner-in-crime.
When the Bears traded for Khalil Mack, their defense quickly shot up to being one of if not the best defenses in football right away. The Bears were able to get to opposing quarterbacks with little difficulty thanks to Mack and the rest of the Bears’ stingy defense.
The Bears drafted Leonard Floyd with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and Floyd has slowly been rectifying that decision.
Leonard showed that he is a force to be reckoned with on Thursday night. Floyd finished with two sacks and constantly made life miserable for Rodgers.
With both Mack and Floyd coming off the edge, the Bears defense will look to improve off of 50 sacks from last season.
Mack is going to be the guy that most likely leads the team in sacks, but I wouldn’t expect Floyd to be far behind.
3. The Packers may have found a way to contain Trubisky and the Bears
It’s no secret that the Bears had the best defense in football last year.
However, their offense wasn’t too bad either. All the offense had to do was score a couple of times a game, and the defense would do the rest.
Trubisky is far and away one of the more athletic quarterbacks in the league, but hasn’t shown consistency when it comes to throwing the football. He’s no Peyton Manning, or Tom Brady for that matter.
Last year, the Bears could run the football with Jordan Howard or Trubisky could also make teams pay with his legs. Chicago ranked 11th when running the football.
That was expected to change when they lost Howard to the Eagles.
The Bears drafted David Montgomery in the third round of the 2019 Draft, and saw Montgomery to be a workhorse back who could catch the ball out of the backfield. That receiving ability showed with a 27-yard snag against the Packers.
Well, the Packers may have found a way to beat the Bears, and it’s quite simple. Make Trubisky beat you with his arm.
As you saw, he didn’t do that against the Packers.
On multiple plays, the Packers sniffed out read options and made Trubisky stay in the pocket for the most part. At times, he looked out of his element.
Allen Robinson showed up for Chicago and caught seven passes for 102 yards. He should help the Bears in the passing game. The Bears can still run the football, but they’ll need to find a way to air it out if they want to win the North.
Chicago repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, and finished with over 100 yards in penalties. At one point, the Bears had three straight penalties that put it at a 1st and 40.
Not a great start, and something that will need to be corrected.
The Packers put it all on the line by stopping the run, and wanted Trubisky to pick them apart with his arm. He didn’t.
4. The NFC North is going to be a tough division this season
From 2011 to 2014, the Packers won the NFC North with little resistance from the other teams.
Since then, the Vikings have won the division twice with titles in 2015 and 2017. The Packers won the division in 2016 while the Bears won it in 2018.
Don’t count of the Lions as well who will look to capture their first division title since 1993. Well, we will see.
With two, possibly three of the top ten defenses in the division (if Green Bay’s defense can continue to play the same way that it did on Thursday night), expect a fight for the NFC North.