On my way into the office today, I noticed at least one out of every three people in Milwaukee donning the green and gold in anticipation for tonight’s Packers vs. Bears game. It’s a nationally televised prime-time game – yes, I know Thursday Night Football usually kind of stinks, but this is the NFL's oldest rivalry – and this season’s first matchup between Green Bay and Chicago has a little something more at stake.
Since their first meeting in 1921, the Packers and Bears have played a total of 195 games. And, heading into tonight’s contest, the record between the two teams stands even at 94-94-6.
What are the odds of that happening? I wish I could tell you, but I’m good with words, not numbers. I do know the odds aren’t great. Just think about it: close to 200 games played and, for whatever reason, on this hallowed Thursday night, the two rivals come in all knotted up.
Through the 1920s and '30s the Packers and Bears were mostly even, with Chicago taking a slight 19-17 advantage in the records. Where the Bears started pulling ahead was in the '40s and '50s. In those two decades, Chicago won 30 games, while Green Bay mustered up just nine total victories. The Packers started regaining some ground in the 1960s and '70s (the Lombardi Era), but that was wiped out with the Bears' dominance in the '80s.
The Packers once again made a push in the '90s and early 2000s with a certain gunslinger quarterback who could throw the ball to the moon. The mid-2000s were more favorable to Chicago, but Green Bay has been able to even up the record recently, thanks to the combination of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy.
During McCarthy’s tenure, the Packers are 16-7 against the Bears (playoffs included) and they've won 12 out of the last 14 meetings. Rodgers is 15-4 (and one loss came in 2013 when he left the game early on with an injury), with an overall passer rating of 103.2 against the Bears.
In the last seven meetings, the Packers have scored more than 20 points; and in 15 of McCarthy’s wins against the Bears, Green Bay has scored more than 20 points. So if the Packers score at least 20, chances are they are going to win.
One more great fact heading into tonight’s game: The Packers have scored only four more total points (3,335) all-time than the Bears (3,331) when the two teams play.
Tonight's game will decide who moves ahead in the historic rivalry series, and also will help shape the NFC North division. Kickoff is at 7:25 p.m. CT on CBS, the NFL Network and, for the first time, Amazon Prime Video.