There’s a new deputy in Green Bay, but the Packers are still counting on the gun of Aaron Rodgers to deliver them to the postseason.

Their road to Miami and the Super Bowl begins in Chicago, where the NFC North champion Bears roll out the red carpet for the season-opening game Thursday night at Soldier Field.

It’s the first game of Matt LaFleur’s tenure as Packers coach. He replaced Mike McCarthy and is giving Rodgers more of the reins of his inventive offense.

The Packers also spent big in the offseason with a goal of boosting their pass rush, but that overhauled group gets a test Thursday against Chicago’s sturdy offensive line. The Bears bring a multi-faceted group of running backs to the table, which should only aid quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Rodgers has thrown 45 touchdowns and 10 interceptions against the Bears in his 14 seasons including two five-touchdown efforts.

A huge effort Thursday might appear unlikely even with Chicago’s change at defensive coordinator. Three first-round linebackers anchor a Bears’ defense that held Rodgers without a touchdown in their most recent meeting — a 24-17 Bears win last December.

–By Jeff Reynolds, Field Level Media