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NFL Week 1 TNF pick: Take the Bears to cover against longtime rival Packers

Bears head coach Matt Nagy, left, smiles during

Bears head coach Matt Nagy, left, smiles during a practice in Lake Forest, Ill. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, left, walks onto the field before a preseason game against the Texans, in Green Bay, Wis. Photo Credit: AP

PACKERS AT BEARS

Line: Bears by 3; O/U: 46.5

TV: Ch. 4, 8:20 p.m. 

It's only fitting that the Packers and Bears are kicking off the NFL's 100th season. No teams have faced each other more times, with Thursday night's opener being the 199th matchup (the Packers lead the all-time series, 97-95-6, with the teams splitting their two playoff meetings).

Like their head-to-head record, Green Bay and Chicago appear to be evenly matched this season and should battle it out for the NFC North title. Vegas agrees, essentially making this a pick 'em line with the home team favored by the standard three points.

The Bears won the North last season, clinching it with a Week 15 win at home against the Packers. It was a little payback for blowing a 20-0 lead in prime time Week 1 at Green Bay, when Aaron Rodgers returned from an injury to lead a wild comeback.

Rodgers is poised for a big year now that the Mike McCarthy drama is behind him, but will he and first-year coach Matt LaFleur click right away? Mitchell Trubisky figures to take that next step in his second year in Bears coach Matt Nagy's system, and Khalil Mack and an opportunistic defense shouldn't miss a beat under new coordinator Chuck Pagano.

This a toss-up game, so the only result that would surprise me is if one team wins big. I'm a little nervous taking the Bears considering their kicking issues, but I think the Chicago secondary makes a big play late to seal a four-point win.

The pick: Bears

Staff picks

Bob Glauber: Bears

Tom Rock: Bears

Al Iannazzone: Bears

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