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Mack breaks down Packers matchup


The Bears' last trip to Green Bay marked the beginning of the Khalil Mack experience.

Acquired via blockbuster trade eight days earlier, Mack made an immediate impression, recording a sack, a pick-six, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

The All-Pro outside linebacker, closing out his second season in Chicago, isn't one to dwell on the past.

"That's a blur," said Mack, "That's last year."

Despite Mack's dominating performance, the Packers were able to spoil his debut, eeking out a 24-23 win. Mack credits Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers with doing just enough to balance out the turnovers.

"He managed the game for them and put them in good situations to ultimately win," said Mack. "Defensively, we can't have that."

Mack has shown himself to be a counterpart to Rodgers for the historically defense-minded Bears. Over nearly two seasons, Mack has contributed 20 sacks. He's also perfected his art at forcing fumbles, now totaling 11 as a member of the Bears, two more than he had in his four seasons in Oakland.

On Friday, Mack seemed more comfortable appraising Rodgers than analyzing or reliving his own accomplishments.

"He just puts the ball in the right spots for guys at times," said Mack. "It's like, damn, you don't really see that a lot. It's understanding the special talent that he has but ultimately understanding the challenge it is to play against him. It's fun. It brings the best out of you as well."

With the Bears standing at 7-6, with a narrow path to a potential playoff run, Mack can look forward to the probable return of fellow Pro Bowler Akiem Hicks. Earlier Friday, coach Matt Nagy said that he liked what he'd seen from Hicks this week.

Mack called the return of the veteran defensive tackle "huge."

"It's another force inside that has to be accounted for," said Mack. "It just makes the game easier."

Last year, Mack avenged the early loss to Rodgers by recording 2.5 sacks in the December rematch. This year, with playoffs and pride on the line, Mack did not dismiss the idea that he was acquired to give the Bears an answer to the two-time MVP playing for their division rival.

"We can talk about (Rodgers), specifically," said Mack, "but ultimately that's the whole point in bringing me here, is to be in a position where you're fighting to be in the playoff push. That's where we're at right now."