Note: If you're looking for the 2013 Week 17 matchup between these two teams, please go here: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Pick.
Green Bay Packers (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS), 4:15 p.m. EST, Week 3 NFL, Sunday, September 25, 2011, Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill., TV: FOX
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB -3.5/Chi +3.5
Over/Under Total: 46
Bet the Packers/Bears game and ALL NFL games ever week at -105 odds instead of the standard/more expensive -110 at the web's best sportsbook: 5Dimes.
The oldest rivalry in the National Football League will renew again Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago when the Green Bay Packers try and remain perfect on the season against the one-loss Chicago Bears in a rematch of last yearís NFC Championship game on the Fox Network.
Green Bay moved to 2-0 with a hard-fought, 30-23, victory on the road over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. The Packers put to bed a dismal first half in the locker room and used a 16-point third quarter to build up a lead against the Panthers and their rookie QB Cam Newton, then held on for dear life in the final minutes as the Panthers rallied to pull it to within a score.
Chicago is coming off of a rollercoaster ride of a week, one that started with an inspiring victory in the opener over the Falcons, then faced the adversity of linebacker Brian Urlacherís motherís sudden death and finally concluded with a, 30-13, dud against the New Orleans Saints for their first loss of the season. The Bears biggest weakness, their offensive line, once again showed up on Sunday as QB Jay Cutler was pounded repeatedly in the loss making the Bears go back to the drawing board this week before welcoming their NFC North rivals to town.
Sundayís meeting between these two will be their fourth game in the past year including the NFC title game, and the third time the Bears will host the grudge match, so look for the Bears and their fans to try and get out to a fast start in order to take the Packers out of their early comfort zone.
The problem is that most people are still not giving Chicago much respect, including the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas, who opened the rivalry game with Green Bay as 3-point favorites on the road. The betting public isnít offering much respect either, as the number has actually gone up to 3.5-points at a few offshore sportsbooks with most of the early money coming in on the Packers.
The over/under total opened at 46 and has dropped the hook to 45.5 at almost every sportsbook in Vegas and on the Web currently listing a total on their board.
Offensively you know what youíre going to get from the Packers side, you just can bank on which Bears offense is going to show up, the one that looked really good in week one or the one that was dismantled in New Orleans last week.
Green Bay is ranked in the top-10 across the board in most of the offensive categories, with the 8th-ranked passing attack in the NFL after two weeks (295.5 ypg) and the 9th-ranked total offense in the league at 409 yards a game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers would likely have better numbers if the Packers receivers didnít have a case of the drops last week in Carolina, but even still the Packers are a very dangerous unit as evidenced by their 4th-ranked scoring total at 36 points per game.
The Bears offense that went for 377 yards in the opener was held to just 246 against the Saints, but what is the most surprising aspect of those numbers is that the Bears still canít seem to get their running game going to support Cutler. After two games the Bears rank 27th in the league with just a 74 yards per game average, which as many Bears fans know puts unwanted pressure on Cutler to try and do too much.
Plus I already mentioned the Bears troubles along the offensive line, a line that has already given up 11 sacks through two games and has forced the strong Bears defense to play too many downs and the season is still very young. The line played without guard Lance Louis in week two and heís listed as questionable for this week, but the jury is still out on whether or not it will make the unit strong enough to protect Cutler and get the run game going.
The good news is that the Bears defense under coach Lovie Smith has always played the Packers tough, allowing them just 48 points in all three games last year combined, including a low of 17 at Soldier Field last season (a 20-17 Bears win) and just 10 in the Packers 10-3 season-ending victory at Lambeau in 2010.
If the Bears can limit the potent Packers offense again this week like they did last season it should keep them in good shape too, because the Packers defense reeling right now. The Packers secondary, normally the strength of the unit, is ranked dead-last 32nd in pass defense giving up 400 yards per game so far.
Plus, theyíll have to figure out a way to replace Pro-Bowl safety Nick Collins, who injured his neck in the Carolina game and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Charlie Peprah will likely get the start in place of Collins, but Peprah is better near the line of scrimmage and is much slower than Collins in pass coverage, something the Bears and Cutler will try and take advantage of on Sunday.
As mentioned, Green Bay won two of the three games between these two rivals last season on the scoreboard, but the Bears were better to gamblers as they covered in two of the three including the regular season matchup at Soldier Field as (ironically) 3-point underdogs. Going back 10 games (to 2006) the Packers own a 6-4 SU advantage, as well as a 6-4 ATS advantage too.
But home field doesnít appear to matter much in this series, as the Packers are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 meetings at Soldier Field, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall.
If you like to play betting trends than youíll likely be placing a wager on the under in this game. The under is a perfect 7-0 in their last seven head-to-head games, and itís also a perfect 4-0 in the last four played at Chicago. The under is also 6-1 in the Packers last seven games as a road favorite, and 4-0 in their last four games played within the NFC North. The under is even 5-2 in Chicagoís last seven games versus the NFC North, so if those arenít strong enough trends than I donít know what youíre looking for from trends.
Badgerís Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Bears offensive line looks like crap. This will negatively affect their chances to score which should put the final combined score in the 30's. Bet the UNDER 46 points.
Super Bowl 50 Game Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos Pick (6:30PM EST) - 2/7
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