The Bears are coming off a loss while the Packers seemed to have righted their wayward ship after 2 consecutive losses. Let’s analyze this matchup & decide which team to include in our NFL picks.
Chicago Bears (4-6 SU, 6-4 ATS)
Jay Cutler threw for 265 yards but an interception and a fumble told the tale of his team’s 17-15 defeat at the hands of the visiting Denver Broncos. The Bears narrowed the gap at the end of the game with Jeremy Langford’s two-yard plunge into the endzone but Chicago was unable to convert the two-point attempt that would have most likely sent the game into overtime. Cutler was without his premier receiver Alshon Jeffrey (groin, shoulder) and Pro-Bowl running back Matt Forte (knee) yet was able to spread the ball around to seven different targets while the Bears’ rushing attack was limited to 86 yards.
Chicago was on the precipice of becoming a mediocre team which sounds like a left handed compliment but when you consider that 15 NFL clubs are below .500 and seven are at .500 that means only 10 teams own winning records as we enter the three-quarter pole of the regular season. The Bears were on the verge of breaking through to respectability but continued to come up short on their offensive drives resulting in three field goals; that good teams convert into touchdowns. Chicago ranks 21st in points scored (21.4 PPG) and 22nd in points allowed (25.1 PPG) which brings us to their 4-6 record as they head into Week 12.
Green Bay Packers (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS)
Shockwaves rumbled around the league when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were upset by the Lions a few weeks ago on their home turf after they had dropped consecutive games to the Broncos and then the Panthers. Those that backed the Pack and laid what the NFL odds makers were demanding which was Green Bay -11 were stunned but not nearly as much as though who played them in teasers, parlays and the brutal -575 that was the money line. One had to believe they were due for a huge game against Minnesota but that was the same mentality that got bettors into trouble the previous three weeks.
However, the Packers did not disappoint all those who kept the faith last weekend and backed them in their NFL picks. Green Bay settled in as one-point road dogs but those who wagered on them were in good stead throughout and when the fourth-quarter arrived the Packers put their collective foot on the neck of the Vikings and scored 11 unanswered points leading to a 30-13 blowout. Rodgers finished the day on 16-of-34 passing for 212 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However it was the relentless pass rush that kept the Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater scrambling and on his back for a total of six sacks while limiting Adrian Peterson to a meager 45 yards rushing.
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Despite all the accolades handed to Aaron Rodgers, extolling him as one of the greatest ever, the Packers have a rather pedestrian passing attack this season largely due to the fact that Rodgers does not have the explosive receivers he has possessed in years past. On the ground Eddie Lacey has been struggling through a series of nagging injuries with James Starks assuming the burden when Lacey is sidelined. That rushing attack has resulted in a little over 109 yards per game which ranks them 16th in the league. In other words, this is not the Packers juggernaut of old.
Defensively the Packers have been sound which is what may get them the cover this week. Green Bay ranks tied for 8th in the league in points allowed averaging 19.8 PPG. Their passing defense is allowing 255 yards per game on average (22nd) yet the Bears pass defense is a surprising 4th in the league, surrendering just 217 yards per contest.
The rush defenses are both in the bottom third which should give Lacey of Green Bay and Forte of Chicago (who is reportedly ready to go on Thursday after taking Sunday’s contest off) an opportunity to pile up the numbers. I guess the bottom line here is that I see a Packers team that is a good, solid and stout team but nothing truly special while the Bears have seen their team improving after their rough start. While I would be shocked to see another upset in Lambeau I do believe that the Bears are a better team now than they were in mid-September when they lost 31-23 at home against a Packers squad that could very well have been better then than they are now.
NFL Pick: Play the Bears +10 (-125) at Pinnacle