In the 80's, the Bears owned the Packers under Mike Ditka. In the 90's, the pendulum swung and under Brett Favre, the Packers dominated the Bears. In 2004, the Bears hired Lovie Smith and in his press conference, Smith stated 3 goals. The first goal was to beat the Packers. In his first game as a head coach for the Bears, he beat the Packers.
Smith has an opportunity to again, achieve that goal of beating the Packers. Under Smith, the Bears have a 7-5 record but in the Bears last 4 games against their most hated rival, they are 1-3. Last season, the Bears were swept.
The Bears are under immense pressure to win this game for a couple reasons whether they realize it or not. One reason is because Lovie Smith raised the bar in what Bears fans should expect. His first goal, and what sold Bears fans on him, was to beat the Packers. Beating the Packers would be a step in the right direction to winning the division, the conference and the Super Bowl. Obviously the Bears have climbed the mountain only to lose to the Colts. A win for the Bears and Smith, will get the fans behind him again.
Another reason why this is a must win for the Bears is that Jay Cutler is 0-2 versus Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. While many of the 4th Phase think that Cutler is indeed the messiah, the national media has never really been sold on him and more critical of him. Both quarterbacks have been compared to each other with most pundits agreeing the Rodgers is the better quarterback. The 4th Phase will be quick to disagree. We can expect to see the Cutler and Rodgers match up for the next decade.
Lastly, the Bears need to win this game to prove to the entire league that they are a team to be reckoned with. Despite the moves the Bears have made in the past couple seasons to improve their coaching staff and their roster, they have not gotten any respect. Preseason rankings had the Bears listed in the bottom third of the league despite having a talented roster. Beating the Packers in front of a national audience on the biggest night of football will have everyone drinking the Kool Aid.
Who's going to win? Of course I'm picking the Bears. This won't be your father's black-and-blue division slug fest. Expect both offenses to move the ball up and down the field with plenty of big plays. This will be Cutler-Rodgers shoot out. There will be plenty of momentum shifts with both defenses being able to get to the quarterback and force turnovers.
Score: Bears 31, Packers 24