Football is finally back, and the NFL is kicking off the 2023 season in style with the league's oldest rivalry, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, set to take place Sunday afternoon. The two franchises have squared off 206 times, and the first matchup occurred in 1921. The Packers lead the all-time series 105-95-6, but the series has taken a lopsided turn over the last several decades: the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.
The Packers have won eight straight games against the Bears under head coach Matt LaFleur since 2019 and are 13-1 against them since 2016. Those contests haven't necessarily been close, either, as Green Bay has averaged 27.6 points per game in that span since 2016 while Chicago has averaged over 10 points fewer, 17.4 points per game. Extending back even further, the Packers are 23-3 in past 26 games vs Bears.
This prolonged stretch of dominance led Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas, who joined Green Bay in Week 6 of the 2021 season as a free agent off the Cardinals practice squad, to declare a sentiment many Green Bay fans have felt for years: Packers-Bears hasn't been a rivalry for a long time because it has become incredibly one-sided. He has been a part of the Green and Gold's last four victories against the Bears, which include his pick-six of Justin Fields in the Packers' 45-30 win against Chicago in Week 14 of the 2021 season.
"My thing is I just got here [in 2021], so they [the Packers and Bears] were in a rivalry, but I haven't ever lost to the Bears in all my seven years [with the Eagles, Panthers, and Packers]," Douglas said on Monday. "So it's not really a rivalry to me. I think more of a rivalry would be back in the day you've been on the same team for 12 years or something like that, and you've been going back and forth every year. Maybe that's a rivalry to you, but to me, it's like I don't really care. I don't have a rivalry in the NFL, so it's hard. I mean, some players might feel that."
Douglas likened his distaste for the Bears to disliking somebody because his best friend has an issue with a specific person.
"I just know that it's like it's being put on you because you're in the atmosphere," Douglas said of disliking the Bears. "So it's like you're best friends with somebody, and they don't like somebody. You don't know why, you don't care. You just can't like the person because your best friend don't like somebody. You don't know why, you don't care. You just can't like the person because your best friend don't like them. It's kind of like that. I don't know why they [the Packers] don't like the Bears, and I don't care. It's just they don't like them, I don't like them."
Much of the Packers' recent success against their NFC North rival can be credited to their last two starting quarterbacks, Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers passed Favre for the most regular season season wins against Chicago by a quarterback since at least 1950, 24 victories, in Green Bay's 28-19 triumph at Soldier Field in Week 13 of the 2022 season. The four-time NFL MVP went 25-5 against the Bears in his 15 seasons as the Packers starting quarterback from 2008-2022, including Green Bay's NFC Championship Game matchup in the 2010 season that the Packers won 21-14 prior to winning Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Most regular season wins vs. Bears by starting QB since 1950
With Rodgers now in the AFC as a New York Jet, Douglas and the Green Bay defense know they have to pack even more of a punch going forward, with new starting quarterback Jordan Love taking over a Green Bay offense filled with new starters as well as players with three or fewer seasons of NFL experience. Love will join Favre and Rodgers as just the third Packers quarterback to start a Week 1 opener as Green Bay has had the fewest Week 1 starting passers in the NFL over the last 30 years.
"That's exactly how we feel," Douglas said, when asked if he feels like the defense has to reach a higher level with a youthful offense on the other side of the ball in Green Bay. "That's how all of us feel. The last 30 years we had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, so the offense has been the guys to control the clock and control the game. This year, I think for the first time in awhile it's going to be the defense that has all the leadership and older guys on the unit. It's going to be on us to go out there and set the tone and let the offense follow us."
Love, Rodgers' successor, will look to follow and continue the Green Bay quarterback legacy of keeping the Bears in a constant state of misery on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET in the hostile confines of Soldier Field.