For the past three years, the Bears have been known as losers.
That is exactly how an organization will be labeled when it has 14 wins and 34 losses in three seasons.
To help change that notion, though, the Bears hired Matt Nagy to be their new head coach and since then have surrounded the team with young playmakers on offense and defense, which includes arguably the best defensive player in football: Khalil Mack.
But if the Bears are serious about changing their losing identity, they need to go into Lambeau Field and defeat the Packers on Sunday.
When John Fox was head coach, he had one victory against Green Bay and that came on Thanksgiving Day in 2015, which was the last time the Bears won in Lambeau Field.
In season openers the past four seasons, the Bears are winless. To ensure everything leading up to Week 1 of the 2018 season isn’t a false sense of hope like there has been previously and that this team signifies change to come, an opening game victory is paramount.
Realistically, if the Bears don’t win, the season wouldn’t be in jeopardy considering there will be 15 more meaningful games left to play. Still, the biggest drawback to losing the opening game would be a simple but familiar feeling that has filled Bears fans’ minds for far too long: doubt.
To see the Bears win the offseason and not have that translate immediately to the regular season will have fans question the legitimacy of a supposed team on the rise.
Additionally, Monday morning’s headline in the paper will strike a sense of déjà vu – Packers defeat Bears … Of course with a loss comes the inevitable smack talk from Packers fans until and possibly after December 16, when the two teams meet at Soldier Field.
More importantly, losing the first game of the season contradicts the Bears’ message of wanting to win now. If the Bears can’t compete within the division, there is no hope for the playoffs. The last win against a division opponent came in 2016 against the Vikings on Halloween.
However, a win starts the Nagy era off with confidence and thus reinforces the potential promise that has surrounded the team since 2018 began.
Also, a win increases the likelihood of a possible winning streak to start the season. After the matchup with the Packers, the Bears face the Seahawks at home, then go on the road to face the Cardinals and end their first quarter of the season against the Buccaneers at home before their Week 5 bye.
Each is a winnable game for the Bears, but everything starts with taking down Aaron Rodgers on his home turf. Rodgers is 15-4 against the Bears in his career and each year has destroyed Bears fans’ dreams.
Second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky will be facing Rodgers for the first time in his career and will have to play to the best of his ability for Chicago to have a chance to win. In order for this Bears team to truly distance themselves from past ones, that is exactly what must be done by Trubisky and every member on the roster for every game.
Chicago is turning to a new chapter in its historic franchise, and there is no better way to start the winning ways than against the Packers on Sunday night with everyone watching.