Packers-Bears: How we picked it
Packers 35, Bears 17
If the Packers are seeking a fast start, they couldn't ask for a better opponent. Never mind the fact that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is 1-10 lifetime against the Packers, the entire team is a work in progress. The preseason narrative again revolved around Cutler piecing things together, but we've heard this song before. This one could get ugly unless Cutler finds a way to finally solve Dom Capers' defense for four quarters. Even then, it's going to be a challenge for Chicago's newly minted 3-4 to subdue Aaron Rodgers enough to keep this one close.
PACKERS 34, BEARS 20
On the road, don't be alarmed if the Packers get off to a sluggish start. Much of their starting offense – quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the offensive line, key receivers – missed most of the final two preseason games. The Packers' starting defense was discombobulated because of injuries. It shouldn't take long for the Packers to take control Sunday. There is simply too wide of a talent gap – especially at quarterback – for the Bears to keep pace. Expect the Packers to start 1-0 for the first time since 2011, but have plenty to work on come Monday.
PACKERS 34, BEARS 16
Jay Cutler has serious flaws but is a talented quarterback who is capable of keeping the Bears in the game if he takes care of the ball. His history makes that an iffy proposition, though. Meanwhile, the Bears overall are in a major rebuild with a new coach and roster, and their defense is undermanned. In the end it's hard to see how they're going to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and Co.
PACKERS 27, BEARS 16
While Packers fans will be focused Sunday on taking the first step toward the Super Bowl, Bears fans will be watching the regular-season opener with one eye on how the Cubs are faring in their playoff drive. Expectations are low in Chicago for this first season under new coach John Fox, but the Bears will look more like a professional team than they did during the 55-14 debacle last season in Green Bay. These Bears will keep the score respectable, but they're not ready to keep up with a team as talented as the Packers.
PACKERS 31, BEARS 10
New Chicago coach John Fox might eventually turn this franchise around — he's done it elsewhere — but not this early in the season and not against a Super Bowl contender. The Bears will be smart to follow their preseason strategy of putting the offensive burden on the running game and off enigmatic QB Jay Cutler. But the Packers' offense will prove to be too much for the Bears' new 3-4 defense that has pass rusher Jared Allen playing out of position at outside linebacker (see Aaron Kampman).