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Packers Have More Than Just Aaron Rodgers

If Green Bay lost Aaron Rodgers the Bears would still find their rivals formidable because of a strong running attack and a defense that has dominated the Chicago offense the last two seasons.

The standoff between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers continues and the Denver Broncos wait with a butterfly net hoping to catch another veteran quarterback who can lead them to a Super Bowl much like with Peyton Manning in 2015.

Bears fans daily drool over the thought of facing Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers. Some of their only success against the Packers over the last decade has come when Rodgers was out or suffered an injury during a game.

The 2013 game when Shea McClellin broke Rodgers' collarbone was one and the Packers lost 27-20 with Seneca Wallace at quarterback.

In the 2018 opener the Bears defense trampled Rodgers and knocked him out of the game early with a knee injury while taking a 20-point lead, but he returned to the game in the second half and led a comeback for a 24-23.

So, the assumption is with Rodgers playing in the AFC the Bears would reign supreme in the NFC North.

Of course, the Minnesota Vikings would have something to say about this.

So would the Packers.

The simple fact is the Bears lost for two straight years and four straight games to the Green Bay defense under current Bears senior defensive assistant Mike Pettine. Rodgers wasn't playing a bit part last year, but even if all he had done was hand off the ball all game the Bears would have had a difficult time winning.

The Bears scored three points in the 2019 season opener against the Packers at Soldier Field. They're not winning a game with three points.

The Bears were held in check again at Lambeau Field 21-13 to end their hopes for a wild-card berth in 2019. They're not winning a game with 14 points. It's not 1963.

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At Green Bay in 2020, Rodgers put up 41 points and threw four TD passes on a night when the Bears defense was sleeping.

However, the Green Bay defense made it all possible. They actually scored for the Packers in the first half and at halftime the Packers had only 24 more yards than the Bears but led 27-10.

In the second game in 2020, the Bears lost 35-16. Rodgers had put up 21 points earlier but the Bears crept back into the game and had a chance at the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Packers defense rose up on fourth-an-one, then Adrian Amos later produced a turnover to make an easy clinching score possible. No NFL team should expect to win with 16 points, anyway. 

Sure, Rodgers could always light up the Bears defense for three or four touchdown passes, but even in the game at Lambeau Field last year when he threw four it was their defense rendering the Bears totally impotent and making the rout possible.

Put Jordan Love in at quarterback or some other veteran the Packers might acquire in a trade and their defense is still going to be a problem for the Bears.

The development of the Packers running game under Matt LaFleur, featuring Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, could let them take on a look like the Tennessee Titans have with Derrick Henry if they wanted to go that route. Their defense would be a complement.

In 2017 the Packers didn't have Rodgers because he broke his collarbone again. The Bears had Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback in his rookie year. 

They committed a turnover, couldn't move the ball on the ground against the Packers defense and lost 23-17 to quarterback Brett Hundley.

Unless the Bears offense improves drastically, even if Rodgers leaves the Packers the same type of situation could happen again to the Bears in 2021 with Love at quarterback.

The Bears haven't been able to solve Amos, Za'Darius Smith and the Packers defense, and it's been their undoing the last two years.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven