Shawn (3-2, 1-2-2 ATS): I am a betting man, but I typically don’t bet football unless I am playing a parlay. Apparently that is a good thing since, unless I’m mistaken, last week is the only time I would have actually won money. The other four weeks I either would have lost my money or pushed, donating the juice.
Part of my problem against the spread is that the Packers have been miserable at covering. I fully expect that to continue this week. Every line I see has the Green Bay Packers from 7-8 points the favorite, which seems an insanity. I wouldn’t bet the Packers to cover 8 points against the Cleveland Browns right now.
As we all know, the Packers, besides not being very good to start with, are a shadow of themselves. Believe it or not, the number of injuries isn’t that big of a problem. The problem is that the injuries are mostly just at two positions: cornerback and running back. As such, the Packers will be playing two running backs on Thursday night that have never played a snap with the team before. They also will be playing a defensive backfield that was struggling even before being ravaged by injury.
The saving grace for the Packers isn’t so much that the Chicago Bears are coming to town, it is that the Chicago Bears are possibly more injury-riddled than they are. They will be playing backups at running back, quarterback, cornerback and receiver. The usually reliable Josh Sitton is even likely to miss the game because of injury.
The Bears have actually been pretty good in the passing game, and rookie Josh Howard had momentarily revived the running game. However, the offense has struggled to score points regardless, which shouldn’t be surprising since Brian Hoyer is at quarterback.
I expect Hoyer, Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith to find some success against the ugly Packers’ secondary, about the same as everyone else has. However, I do think the Packers’ run defense will rebound and force Hoyer to win the game.
That makes the Packers’ pass rush a key factor in this game. The Packers are healthy there and Nick Perry, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and company should find the Bears easier sledding than the Cowboys were. If they can harass Hoyer, they can help keep the passing game in check.
Ultimately, regardless of the question marks at other positions, a good offensive line and Aaron Rodgers versus a mediocre offensive line and Brian Hoyer should be the key difference in the game. I don’t expect a rebirth of 2011 from Aaron Rodgers, but I expect him to play better than he did against the Cowboys.
And I expect that should be enough… for now.
Packers 24, Bears 20
Monty (3-2, 1-2-2 ATS): We pretty much know what we have with the Green Bay Packers now. We have a supremely mediocre, if not below-average offense, a pretty good run defense — last week not withstanding, a solid pass rush and an average to below-average secondary.
We also seem to have a team that oddsmakers and bettors like WAY more than they should. They’ve only beaten a spread once this season through five games. So, obviously, if they’re favored by 7 or 8, you’ll want to take the opposition, even when that opposition is the lowly Chicago Bears.
Both of these teams are beat up good, as Shawn already mentioned.
Even though, the Bears have still been able to move the ball on offense since Brian Hoyer took over for Jay Cutler. That’s right, no Cutty! magic tonight for the Packers. Hoyer is averaging 279 yards per game this season. He’s thrown six touchdowns and no picks. He has a rating of 100.8. Hoyer has surpassed 300 yards passing in each of his four starts.
Aaron Rodgers probably dreams of having Brian Hoyer’s numbers right now.
The problem for the Bears isn’t that they can’t move the ball. It’s that they can’t get in damn end zone. Chicago has scored a touchdown on just over 47 percent of their red zone trips this season. That reminds me of a Chicago Bears joke.
How do you keep the Bears out of your yard?
Put up a goal post.
The point here is, the Bears are likely to move the football regardless of who’s playing defense. But can they put it in the end zone? I agree that the pass rush will be key for the Packers. Considering they’re not facing the best offensive line in football again this week — they’re actually facing one of the worst — that should be no problem.
Then the question becomes, can the Packers do enough with their terrible passing game — let’s not pretend Don Jackson or Knile Davis are going to be big contributors — to outpoint the Bears?
The Bears are 11th in total defense and 10th in pass defense, so it isn’t like they’re going to be pushovers.
Plus, you could certainly make an argument that a worse Bears team came into Lambeau Field and beat a similar Packers team just last season. What I am saying is, I certainly would not be surprised if the Bears won.
However, I’m going to play the patterns here.
When they face an elite-level team, the Packers lose (Minnesota, Dallas). When they face mediocre or bad teams (Jacksonville, Detroit, the Giants), they win. The Bears most certainly fall into that latter category. Couple that with the fact that the Packers have been garbage against the spread and you have your result.
Packers win, but don’t cover.
Should be a REAL treat to watch!
Packers 17, Bears 13