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LaFleur and Rogers reportedly had been at odds over the LaFleur’s desire for Rodgers to run the called play and Rogers’ desire to audible. The power struggle apparently has ended, with the 15-year veteran quarterback winning out over the first-year head coach. There will be other issues between the two and if they can’t get on the same page, the Packers (6-9-1 in 2018) may miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
The Bears (12-4 in 2018) have no such tension between coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Nagy guided the Bears to their best record since 2006 and earned their first playoff berth since the 2010 season. He also helped Trubisky reach career-highs in most major passing categories and there is high expectations for the Bears to take another step forward in 2019.
The 100th NFL season kicks off on Thursday night with a classic NFC North rivalry, as the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers.
Last season the Bears went 12-4 on their way to win a first divisional title since 2010, with Khalil Mack making an immediate impact after arriving from the Oakland Raiders.
The linebacker led the team with 12.5 sacks last season, the joint-third highest for any Bears player since 1989. The four-time Pro Bowler has recorded 49 sacks since 2015, the third-most in the league, and will again be integral to Chicago's defense.
Matt LaFleur is the new head coach. He replaced Mike McCarthy, who was fired before the end of last season after his relationship with Aaron Rodgers broke down beyond repair.
The two-time MVP passed for 4,442 yards and 25 touchdowns for a 97.6 rating last season and remains one of the greatest signal-callers the NFL has ever seen.
Rodgers' relationship with LaFleur, however, will be even more important to the Packers' chances of returning to the playoffs than his talent.
Meanwhile, Mike Pettine has been confirmed as defensive coordinator. Big improvements are expected from the Packers' defense this season.
Chicago and Green Bay are expected to battle it out for the NFC North title, although the Packers have an easier path than the Bears, who have the joint fifth-hardest schedule in the NFL.