GREEN BAY PACKERS, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers will try to stretch their winning streak to five Sunday when they visit the rival Bears in Chicago.
Head coach Matt LaFleur is 4-0 against the Bears and his first victory as Packers coach was a 10-3 triumph in 2019 at Soldier Field. The only touchdown of that game was caught by Jimmy Graham, then with the Packers, and now with the Bears.
LaFleur expects a physical battle.
“You get a team that's coming in that's got some momentum. They are 3-2 and won the last two games," he said. "They've got a young quarterback that's playing pretty well, and their defense is rolling right now."
I would anticipate that it's going to be a pretty chaotic environment. It’s an NFC North opponent, first and foremost. Those games are almost twice as meaningful, because if you can win, obviously that’s twofold, giving that other team a loss. So we have stressed a lot of importance on the North.”
LaFleur is particularly impressed by the Bears' defense.
“They got players on all three levels," LaFleur said. "Those edge rushers are as good as they get and I think they're really playing at a high level. I think, all in all, it's the best defense we will have played up to this point. Anytime you have a great scheme with great players that give great effort, that's a problem. It’s not a surprise to me that they are a top-five defense.”
The Bears are starting rookie quarterback Justin Fields from Ohio State. There are growing pains, but LaFleur is impressed.
“He's such a dynamic athlete," LaFleur said. "He can make plays in the pocket and certainly we're gonna have to do a great job with our rush lanes, in terms of not letting him get out of the pocket. They can implement the zone read, so that's another layer to the offense. I just think that he's a really good young quarterback that should have a bright future in this league.”
LaFleur said that offensive linemen Elgton Jenkins and Josh Myers could be back for the Bears game.
Aaron Rodgers is 21-5 as a starter against the Bears. The Packers have won 10 of the last 11 meetings at Soldier Field.
“I'm just a small part of this journey," Rodgers said. "It’s been over 100 years playing, and fortunate to have this little time right now to be able to be a starter and impact the all-time series. Little Green Bay was getting beat up for a long time by our foes to the south, and then Favre showed up and we closed the gap, and then we've overtaken them. It's nice, but I don't think it's the most important part of the all-time legacy. It is always a battle against them, and always fun when you can beat them.”
Rodgers said he's noticed that Bears fans don't necessarily love him.
“I’ve always enjoyed the city, enjoy the fans even though they haven't really enjoyed me," Rodgers said with a smile. "That's fine, I get it. Maybe a little more love when my time comes to an end playing here. I do have a lot of respect for the city, and the sports fans they got there.”
For Davante Adams, the Bears rivalry just fits in with his weekly competitive feel.
“It means something to me because I know how much it means to this organization and the town more than anything," said Adams. "I hate everybody that I play against, so when I'm going out there, I try to murder you with every opportunity I can. They will get the same treatment. It's the same thing in my head, but it’s an age-old rivalry, and it means a lot to this town and to football. This is important, we add another one in our column over here.”
When asked about why the Packers' offensive numbers are not as gaudy this season, both Rodgers and Adams said they can be more aggressive, not necessarily passing more. Rodgers vows that "good things are coming".