One view history is that all things run in cycles and what is up now will someday be down and down will be up. And over their joint NFL histories the Bears and Green Bay Packers have certainly had cycles when referring to one team’s dominance of the other, with the net that the difference between the two is one game (Bears 93 wins, Packers 92, plus six ties).
But cycles are sometimes funny, sometimes brutal, sometimes seemingly unbreakable. The Packers won 10 straight from 1994 to 1999; the Bears won eight straight from 1985 into 1989.
The Packers have won the last four games with the Bears, but 10 of the past 11. Any player becoming a Bears since game eight of the 2013 season has never known the feeling of defeating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
And the distinct possibility exists that an expect-to-lose mindset can creep into situations like this.
“In my experience, yes, that can be an issue,” said guard Matt Slauson, a member of the Bears when they downed the Packers in 2013. “But it’s only an issue if you allow it to be one. My experience is that when you are going up against a really good team, you can already lose the game before it’s even played. We have to make sure that we aren’t going to do any of that.”
Slauson was a member of the New York Jets before coming to the Bears, and any member of the AFC East has had to deal with the specter of the New England Patriots. And “a lot of times you’re going into the game and you’re already telling yourself, ‘Wow. This is going to be really hard to get a win,’” Slauson recalled. “But you can’t afford to think like that. And I don’t believe anybody on our team is.”
Mike Ditka famously declared that the past is for cowards and losers, and on the plus side of roster turnover is the fact that multiple players don’t have the bleak past with the Packers.
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Without that kind of residue, those individuals don’t harbor the concerns that something inevitably goes wrong when the Bears play the Packers.
“That all happened in the past and we're looking from the present to the future,” said cornerback Tracy Porter, who as a member of the New Orleans Saints was 1-1 against Rodgers and Green Bay.
“So that's our biggest thing. Whatever happened back then, it's over with. We can't go back and change it. If we could then we would go back to when we were dominating the series but at this point we can only look forward to Thursday and move from that point forward.”