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Packers 2016 Schedule Preview, Vol. 6: Chicago Bears

Will Chicago’s new linebackers be sufficient to bolster their average defense?

NFL: Chicago Bears-Minicamp Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After opening the 2015 season at Soldier Field, the Green Bay Packers will have their first game against the Chicago Bears this season in week seven at Lambeau Field. This game will be held on a Thursday night, and will be the Packers’ “Color Rush” game, which is expected to feature Green Bay in all-gold jerseys with the Bears in solid navy.

The two NFC North foes will have their rematch in Illinois in week 15, kicking off a three-game stretch against divisional opponents to close out the Packers’ 2016 schedule.

The Bears revamped the middle of their defense this offseason, adding a pair of highly-sought-after inside linebackers in free agency as well as an edge rusher early in the NFL Draft. They’ll need them to improve a defense that finished in the bottom five in turnovers forced last season and to build upon the Bears’ 6-10 record.

Here is a look at the Bears’ offseason from the folks over at Windy City Gridiron, our SB Nation colleagues who cover the Bears.

Chicago Bears

Notable free agent additions

ILB Danny Trevathan, ILB Jerell Freeman, DL Akiem Hicks, RT Bobby Massie

Notable free agent departures

RB Matt Forte


TE Martellus Bennett traded to Patriots

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies

1st Round OLB Leonard Floyd will at the very least be in on passing downs to rush the passer. His coverage skills could be put to use as well.

2nd Round OL Cody Whitehair is in line to start at left guard.

3rd Round DL Jonathan Bullard will be in the defensive line rotation.

5th Round RB Jordan Howard will be part of the Bears’ backfield by committee. The power element he adds could give him the edge on short yardage and goal line situations.

Biggest offseason addition

The two free agent inside linebackers will help get the Bears defense back to being respectable. Trevathan and Freeman are so much better (like really, really, better) than last year’s duo of Shea McClellin and Christian Jones.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp

There are a lot of story lines to pick from, but I think most fans are excited to see 2015 first round draft pick Kevin White finally healthy. He missed all of last season with a shin injury, and if he’s all he’s cracked up to be, he will add a huge playmaker to the offense.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp

So many to choose from, like the revamped front seven gelling, the running back by committee taking shape, the safety position figuring itself out, Jay Cutler meshing with new offensive coordinator, but a more obscure storyline could be 7th round pick Daniel Braverman. He’s a smallish and shifty slot receiver that Bears’ fans are already rooting for. If he has a good camp then follows it up was a decent preseason, some fans will have their new favorite player.

Notable injuries heading into training camp

Fourth wide out Marquess Wilson broke his foot again and may end up on the PUP list. Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is recovering from offseason knee surgery, but he should be 100% for training camp.