Football is going back to its roots with one of the oldest rivalries in the sport.
The NFL will celebrate its 100th season starting Thursday night when the Chicago Bears host their longtime rival, the Green Bay Packers, in the opener of the 2019 NFL season. Not only is the “Thursday Night Football” opener a matchup of two storied franchises, it’s also a huge game in the NFC North.
NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian made their against-the-spread picks for Thursday night’s game.
Green Bay Packers at (-3) Chicago Bears, Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET at Soldier Field, Chicago
Mike: Packers. If you were able to grab that half-point when the line opened and got Green Bay at +3.5, congrats. It’s a much better number. I think there’s a chance this game kind of looks like the opener between these two last season when the Bears’ new offense just marched down the field early, but this time, it’s the Packers’ new-look offense moving the ball. And Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to blow an early lead the way Mitch Trubisky and the Bears did last year.
Ricky: Bears. While it’s fair to assume Chicago’s defense will regress to some extent this season after an otherworldly 2018 campaign, it’s also reasonable to project a step forward for the Bears’ offense. That balance will be on full display in the season opener, with Matt Nagy outshining Matt LaFleur in a battle of two intriguing young coaches.
Andre: Packers. Aaron Rodgers is 16-5 lifetime against Chicago and the Packers have won 15 of their last 18 games against their NFC North rival. The Packers’ dominant offensive line anchored by David Bakhtiari (ranked No. 1 among all offensive linemen on PFF) and Bryan Bulaga will mitigate the Bears’ pass rush. The Bears also played in 11 games decided by one possession last season, so expect a close one.
Thumbnail photo via Quinn Harris/USA TODAY Sports Images