Monday Night Won't Feel The Same
It only happens twice a year, and it’s always one of the most anticipated and exciting times for Cheeseheads around the country. That’s right, it’s Bears week.
The Packers-Bears rivalry is arguably the best and certainly the oldest one in the NFL. Ranked number one and two for most hall of famers respectively, the Bears and Packers always put on a show whenever they face off. It doesn’t matter who’s favored, where it’s played or what’s at stake. Anything can happen in a Packers-Bears game.
But this year, well, this week’s matchup at least, feels less exciting than normal. Monday Night Football will be a nice setting, but aside from the normal race for the division crown that’s always in play, this Packers-Bears matchup feels a little hollow compared to normal.
Most of this is attributed to the lack of familiar faces that will be lining up on Chicago’s side of the ball. The most missed face will be that of Brian Urlacher’s. Urlacher was the kind of guy you couldn’t help respect, even as a hater of the team he played for. You feared for Brett Favre’s or Aaron Rodgers’ life any time Urlacher chased the quarterbacks down, and you just knew he would make several game-changing plays throughout the course of the day. Packers fans rooted against Urlacher for a long time, but they deeply wished he could be one of their own.
His linebacking counterpart since 2003, Lance Briggs won’t be appearing in Monday night’s game either, due to a fractured shoulder. Briggs was kind of a mini-Urlacher, both in size and knack for making big plays.
The turnover-magnetic Charles Tillman is questionable for Monday night with a knee problem.
And Jay Cutler, the quarterback Packers fans have grown to love to cheer against, won’t be suiting up this week because of a groin injury. The absence of Cutler takes away some particular intrigue. Known for always being the Packers’ whipping boy, Cutler has always struggled mightily against Green Bay’s defense (he has a career quarterback rating of 61.5 against the Packers). This year, there was reason to believe Cutler would shrug off his past to have a monster game against his rival. The combination of offensive guru Marc Trestman for a head coach, the emergence of Alshon Jeffery and a new offensive line that is actually competent has led Cutler to a 91.7 quarterback rating in 2013, which would be the best of his career if that keeps up.
But instead, we’ll be seeing Josh McCown at quarterback, Khaseem Greene and Jon Bostic at linebacker and maybe Isaiah Frey at corner. Those four guys have a combined two career games played against the Packers. Needless to say, Monday night’s matchup won’t boast very much prior experience between the two rivals. It doesn’t make for the best rivalry game.
Something tells me this Packers-Bears showdown just won’t feel the same.