Week one is just a couple of days away, and the Packers are all set to take on the Chicago Bears. This year’s Bears team looks nothing like the ones we’ve seen in years past, as they’ve made a lot of moves in the offseason to improve. The history and rivalry between the Packers and the Bears make this game even more meaningful. The Packers have been dominant against the Bears since 2013, boasting a record of 17-3 against them. However, despite all of that, this Sunday’s game will be a tough matchup for the Packers, and they will need certain players to step up to secure a win. Here are the key essential players for the week one matchup.
Packers Key Player#1- Kisean Nixion
Head coach Matt LaFleur announced in the offseason that Kisean Nixon would be the starting slot corner for the Packer’s defense. He is getting a bigger role after being the best kick-returner last year in the NFL. However, there are concerns about his ability to perform in this role since he did not have a great game in week three of last season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he had to play in the slot due to injuries. Although he managed to force a fumble, he struggled overall, and his passer rating when targeted was over 100. This Sunday, Nixon will face a tough challenge as he goes up against wide receivers DJ Moore, Chase Claypool, and Darnell Mooney. The Packers’ defense is also thin at the cornerback position, with only four players on the active roster. Therefore, Nixon will need to step up and perform well, or the Packer’s defense could be in trouble.
Packers Key Player#2- Devonte Wyatt
Devonte Wyatt is set for a big season this year. He displayed tremendous potential in his rookie season, especially towards the end when he got more playing time. Now, he has been penciled in as the starter this year alongside Kenny Clark and TJ Slaton. He must perform well on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. He needs to disrupt and help provide interior push along the defensive line. Considering his age, as he is only in his second year and already 25 years old, the Packers will be looking for quick results and hoping that he steps up this season. Sunday’s game presents a huge opportunity for Devonte Wyatt to show that he is making significant progress in his second year.
Packers Key Player#3- Josh Myers
The Packers are projected to have one of the best offensive lines in football, with solid guards and tackles on both the right and left side, especially with pro bowlers Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari. However, the question mark is the center position with Josh Myers. He has not been all bad in his first two years with the team but has not been all good either. He is a very good pass blocker and can pick up pass rush stunts very well. However, his run blocking is subpar, has too many high or low snaps that lead to turnovers, and just makes too many mental errors. While he’s currently the starting center, there’s a possibility that he may not be the long-term solution for the Packers. In their upcoming game this Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Myers needs to perform well, as the Packers have other options at center if he can not get the job done. This is a crucial season for Josh Myers, and he needs to deliver a solid performance in week one.
Packers Key Player#4- The Whole Safety Group
The Packers have had a pretty big hole a safety since the days of Nick Collins and Charles Woodson. As of right now, that position is very unknown as there is no true answer. The players they have currently are Darnell Savage, Rudy Ford, Johnathan Owens, Dallin Leavitt, and Anthony Johnson. None have stood out so far, and that is a concern when playing the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The Bears, with their new, improved offense, can exploit the weakness of the Packers at safety. The Packers hopefully have this position resolved this Sunday, or the Bears offense will take advantage.
Packers Key Player#5- Kingsley Enagbare
The Packers’ pass rush looks very good this year, and one player to watch from the Packers edge group is second-year player Kingsley Enagbare. Towards the end of last season, he was the starter with Rashan Gary going down with a torn ACL and showed a ton of promise. Now Gary will be on a pitch count on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, meaning Enagbare has a huge opportunity to make an impact. He will get meaningful snaps, and he already showed in the preseason this year that he is ready for a bigger role on defense. If Kingsley Enagabre can take that second-year jump, he can help the Packers’ pass rush give Justin Fields and the Bears’ offense a lot of problems on Sunday.