Packers-Bears rivalry kicks off 2019 NFL season

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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A brand new 2019 NFL season will kick off with one of the league's most storied rivalries.

For the 199th time, the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will collide and this time it will be in the NFL's annual Thursday Night Kickoff.

The Bears will host the Packers in an NFC North showdown at 8:20 p.m. EST on Sept. 5 on NBC to begin the NFL's 100th season. The reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will also host the Sunday Night Football Week 1 contest against a team to be determined. This will be the first year since 2003 in which the defending Super Bowl winner will not play in the season opener.

Green Bay leads the all-time series -- which began with Chicago's 20-0 shutout on Nov. 27, 1921 -- by a slim 97-95-6 margin.

En route to claiming the NFC North title, the Bears won the last meeting, 24-17, but the Packers won the teams' first 2018 tussle. It will mark the second year in a row in which the teams square off in Week 1, with last season's 24-23 Packers victory featuring a comeback for the ages as an injured Aaron Rodgers reemerged to spoil Khalil Mack's Bears debut.

Chicago, under reigning coach of the year Matt Nagy, will be looking to prove its 2018 turnaround from worst to first wasn't a fluke as the Mack-led defense features returning difference-makers Eddie Jackson, Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller and Roquan Smith. Former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky's development at quarterback will also be a continuing storyline as he toes the line with Rodgers.

Rodgers helped the Packers to seven consecutive triumphs at Soldier Field before last season's loss.

More important than the rivalry histrionics for the Packers, though, will be the debut of a new-look team trying to get back to the franchise that once ruled the north. In the aftermath of a 6-9-1 showing in which the Pack missed the postseason for the second year in a row, Green Bay will begin a new era under rookie head coach Matt LaFleur. The Packers will also feature a trio of high-profile free agents in edge rushers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith and safety Adrian Amos -- a former Bear. In addition, it will also be the first time in a longtime that Green Bay will have a roster without linebacker Clay Matthews (signed by the Rams) and receiver Randall Cobb (signed with the Cowboys).

It is the league's oldest and most-played rivalry. It's a division showdown. It's a star-studded showcase.

It's a great way to kick off the 2019 season.

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