Shawn (7-3, 7-3 ATS) — Alright, my picking record is the same as the Green Bay Packers, and I hope that continues for a while.
The Packers surprised me and many others by turning their shit around in one week, last week. The defense played inspired ball, improving upon their performance against Detroit the week before. The offense was still a comedy of errors at times, but Eddie Lacy jumped off the back of the milk carton and made his presence felt for once. Lacy, coupled with some big plays on offense, made up for a lack of consistency as the Packers finally got to 30 points again.
The Chicago Bears are better than we thought they’d be. John Fox might be a fairly decent coach, and the Bears have exceeded expectations. In fact, if the Bears hadn’t given away their game against the Vikings, they’d be right with the Vikings in begging for scraps from the NFC North table.
Part of the Bears exceeding expectations is that Jacob Cutler has actually not been that shitty. John Fox has come up with the novel idea of having Cutler throw less. In return, Cutler has been more efficient. He is completing over 63 percent of his passes, which is better than Aaron Rodgers this season. He has only thrown 6 INTs in 10 games. Of course, he is also throwing fewer TDs, with just 13 of those. Unsurprisingly, Fox is trying to build a team that runs the football and plays defense.
After being out for weeks, Matt Forte is expected to play on Thursday night. Considering Jeremy Langford has been pretty good, I don’t think it is a big difference if Forte plays or doesn’t. Eddie Royal and Martellus Bennett are both out, which gives the Packers defense less to worry about. The bigger question is whether Alshon Jeffery is going to play or not. He didn’t play on Sunday, and usually guys who miss a Sunday game don’t play a Thursday game. On the other hand, he is by far the Bears’ best receiver; so the Bears may rush him onto the field if he can run at all.
Regardless of how Cutler performs, the Bears got issues if both Jeffery and Bennett don’t play. I don’t expect the Bears to have the kind of success running the football that they did in week 1. So, if Cutler lacks targets, their offense is screwed.
I am hoping the Packers play an all-around better game on offense this week. The Bears rank 25th defensively against the run. If the Packers get Lacy going again, that should help open up their passing offense. The Bears have been decent against the pass without having a lot of great players either rushing the passer or covering, but they’ve struggled containing Aaron Rodgers and likely will again on Thursday night.
Randall Cobb is coming off one of his worst games as a pro, but he loves playing against the Bears and should have the opportunity for a big bounce back game. I also think the Packers special teams or defense are due to put some points on the board. Though the Bears will be spirited, I think the Packers should be able to eclipse the 30-point mark again.
This is an extremely important game for both teams. The Bears can keep unlikely playoff hopes alive with a win. Plus, it is always a big feather in their cap if they can beat the Packers in Lambeau. The Packers need to keep moving forward. If they lose, they give up their division lead, likely, and would do the unthinkable in losing two games in a row at home. Can’t happen.
I believe that the festivities of the evening should add more energy to the crowd and ultimately to the players. I think the Packers will come out ready to play. The Bears might too, but I don’t think that will be enough. The Bears are a threat and the Packers need to play well, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers started fast and got out front like in past games at home. I wouldn’t be shocked if it was a close game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers rolled them, either.
Packers 31, Bears 20
Monty (6-4, 6-4 ATS) — Well, suddenly the Green Bay Packers are a very tough team to pick correctly. That will happen when you’re all over the map.
This Green Bay Packers team has gone from borderline dominant to so-so to looking like the biggest pile of shit in the NFL over the course of this season. Then last week, they miraculously looked like a very solid playoff team once again.
Totally out of the blue. After stringing together the ugliest three-game stretch of football I can remember since maybe the pre-Holmgren era.
Do I know what to expect this week? Not a clue.
This team could clearly just decide they’re going to beat anyone on any given day. They may just as well shit in their jammies and the roll around in their own fecal matter for 60 minutes.
Really hard to say.
I’ll tell you what this does remind me of.
Every other season Mike McCarthy has been the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers always have a stretch of games where they play uninspired, disgusting football. That stretch typically just happens at the beginning of every season, not in the middle of it.
That’s why this feels so foreign.
McCarthy made such a big deal about starting fast this year that he forgot about the tough part of the schedule (and Detroit).
My point here is this. In past years, the Packers have taken some lumps and then they’ve gone on a roll. I’m thinking we’re now done with that stretch and let the roll begin.
What’s clear to me is — and I said it prior to the Vikings game — the Packers need Eddie Lacy. And that means they need to feed Eddie Lacy the goddam ball 15-plus times per game.
That idiot Tom Clements seems to have finally discovered that, last week.
So, let’s saddle up Easy Ed. That will open things up for Aaron Rodgers. The defense should keep playing as well as they have the past two weeks.
This Bears team is better than Marc Trestman’s Bears and, as Shawn mentioned, our main man Cutty! isn’t playing like our main man Cutty! anymore.
He’s playing some good football.
Still, these Bears are no world beaters. They’re a middle-of-the-road football team and the Packers should handle them now that they have their stretch of suckitude out of the way.
Rodgers will have himself a nice game because if he doesn’t, I’m dusting off Favre and sending him out there to sling some guns.
The Packers are favored by nine. I hate that line. It’s too high to like, but I’ll tell you what. All the momentum is pointing towards something similar to what happened the last time the Bears came to Lambeau Field.
The gap won’t be as large (41 points) because this Bears team isn’t as shitty, but I’m taking the Packers.
Packers 37, Bears 17