Packers rivalry 'means a lot' to Justin Fields, Bears as Week 2 tilt looms

·4 min read

'It means a lot:' Fields, Bears ready to renew Packers rivalry originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST – The Bears' upset win over the San Francisco 49ers is squarely in the rearview mirror. Chicago is happy to be 1-0 but immediately turned its attention to Sunday night's game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

"It means a lot," Justin Fields said of the rivalry on Wednesday. "Of course, I want to win every game I play. But of course, it's the tradition of this rivalry. Means a lot to us as a team, to the fan base, to the people upstairs. It just means a lot to everyone in this building."
 
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus isn't spending extra time focusing on the NFC North rivalry. He doesn't care that the Packers flopped in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. He's just focused on the Bears getting better each day.

"Yeah, I don't even go in that direction," Eberflus said about Rodgers' subpar game in Week 1. "I just stayed focused on us."
 
Bears star linebacker Roquan Smith knows the importance of Sunday's game. He has had a front-row seat to Rodgers' ownership of the Bears. In his career, Rodgers is 22-5 against the Bears with 61 touchdown passes and only 10 interceptions. Rodgers hasn't thrown an interception against the Bears since Dec. 16, 2018.
 
In Rodgers' last 10 games against the Bears, the Packers star quarterback has completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 2,384 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just one interception. Rodgers has posted a passer rating of 113.6 in those 10 games.
 
Rodgers wasn't lying when he told Packers fans at Soldier Field last year that he "owns" them. The stats don't lie.
 
After the Packers put up a measly seven points against the Vikings, Smith knows the Bears will get the best of the reigning back-to-back MVP on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
 
"Oh yeah man, the guy is obviously one of the greatest to ever play the game, and you know as a competitor myself, love going against people like that," Smith said Monday about facing Rodgers. "I'm sure he will be a little bit pissed off after this last game. Hey, you wouldn't want it any other way. Pissed off him, get the best version of him and then we get the dub, and it will be even sweeter."

Eberflus went out of his way Wednesday not to say anything about the Packers. He parried away questions about his prior experiences game planning for Rodgers. He said beating the Packers didn't come up during his job interview with the McCaskey family earlier this year.

While Eberflus might not give much oxygen to the rivalry with the Packers, even the newest Bears understand the importance of Sunday night.

Wide receiver Byron Pringle played the first three seasons of his career in Kansas City as a member of a Chiefs team everyone in the league was hunting. Now, Pringle finds himself on the other end of the spectrum as part of a rebuilding Bears team chasing the team at the top.

"Everybody wants to win the Super Bowl. Everybody wants to win their division," Pringle said. "So, our goal is just to win 1-0 every week, every day win that battle and you know. They don't like us and we don't like them. We already know what type of game it's going to be."

The Packers have won six in a row against the Bears and are 11-1 in the last 12 meetings. They'll undoubtedly come out swinging behind Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and A.J. Dillon on Sunday. With Rodgers still developing chemistry with his new group of receivers, Eberflus knows stopping the Packers' two-headed backfield monster will be vital Sunday.

"Those guys are good players, they really are," Eberflus said. "They both have great contact balance. They both have great cut ability. They have vision. They both have shown as of late to be great receivers out of the backfield, catching the ball out of the backfield. And they had, what, 11 targets last week? And they were talking about upping those targets. So those guys are dynamic players, and it's a one-two punch because they have different, varying skillsets."

Eberflus and the Bears will look to start flipping the rivalry narrative Sunday. He doesn't have to admit it, but getting a win in his first game as Bears coach at Lambeau Field would mean a little more than any old Week 2 win.

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