Chicago Bears(1-2SU,2-1ATS) vs.Green Bay Packers(2-1SU,1-2ATS)
Date/Time:Thursday, September 28, 2017 at8:25PMEST
Where:Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Point Spread:CHI +7/GB -7
The NFC North takes center stage on Thursday Night Football, as the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. In a bizarre week three in the NFL, both teams experienced some strange results. Chicago overcame an 0-2 start to the season to beat the Steelers in overtime, 23-17. The Packers were able to avoid a surprise loss to the Bengals at home on Sunday, overcoming a deficit to win, 27-24. Can the Bears give the Packers a run for their money on Thursday?
Not many thought the Bears would score their first win against the Steelers, but it showed that they can be tough in the right setting. A division game against the Packers could be another one of those spots. They showed some pluck in week one with a near-win and cover against the Falcons, before coming down to earth some in Tampas home-opener. At home against Pittsburgh in week 3, they were able to do some of the things they hope can lead to a better season than some forecasted. Beating a good team was a big development for this team.
On Sunday, Chicago unleashed a potent run-game against a Steelers defense that had been doing pretty well against the opposing rush. Jordan Howard was big with 138 yards on the ground, including a 19-yard TD run in OT to seal the win. And he did it fighting through a shoulder injury that has held him back all season. The addition of rookie back Tarik Cohen has given the Bears some options in the run-game and in the short-pass department. Theyll need all the ground-game they can get, following another rough appearance from QB Mike Glennon, who again stunk it up with just 106 yards and a pick. At the same time, when you beat the Steelers at home, you dont want to nit-pick too much. But the fans are starting to wonder what needs to happen before number-two overall pick Mitchell Trubisky gets the call.
Obviously, the Chicago defense deserves kudos for holding the powerful Steelers offense to just 17 points on the day. They were able to force a mediocre performance from Ben Roethlisberger, while LeVeon Bell never really got rolling against the Bears. They also did well in week one in giving up 23 to the Falcons. It wasnt all gravy, however, as Marcus Cooper nearly committed a miscue that cost them the game when he started showboating after a blocked FG, getting the ball batted out of his hand as he went in for a score. How this could happen is really beyond explanation, but alls well that ends well. On Sunday, corners Prince Amakamura and Kyle Fuller were solid, while they got sacks from Pernell McPhee and Willie Young.
It wasnt supposed to be so hard for the Packers at home on Sunday, against a spiraling Bengals team that had looked abysmal in weeks one and two. A win is a win and they showed moxie in overcoming a 21-7 deficit. The defense tightened up and held the Bengals to just a FG in the second half. And the offense started working its way back into the game, bolstered by a big finish and good play in OT. Down by 7 with time running out, Aaron Rodgers connected with Geronimo Allison for 72 yards, setting up a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson.
The Packers offense started sleepily on Sunday. Mistakes contributed to the issue, with Aaron Rodgers throwing a very rare pick-six in the first half. But Rodgers recovered and ended up with 313 yards through the air. Nelson ended up having a big day with a pair of TD catches, with Lance Kendricks catching another. Allison had 122 receiving yards on the day. Theyd like to see another dimension on offense with a run-game, but some issues up-front need to be worked out, with key members of the line dealing with nagging injuries. RT David Bakhtiari has missed time, with T Bryan Bulaga leaving the Cincy game with a gimpy ankle.
The Green Bay defense is also already dealing with some injury problems, as they try to get LB Nick Perry and DT Mike Daniels back into action. But the D tightened up well after a dicey first half. Their performance in the second half was a key part of the GB comeback bid, giving up just 3 points after Cincy went on a little spurt for a quarter and change. They get good safety play from Morgan Burnett and still-blossoming Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Another safety in Josh Jones had two sacks on Sunday. Mike Clark was good up-front in helping curtail the diverse Bengals run-game. The middle awaits the return of Perry, but Clay Matthews, Ahmad Brooks, and Blake Martinez were very active on Sunday.
Again at home this week, the Packers look for a more-routine win on Thursday. It perhaps wont be easy with the Bears looking to capitalize off the momentum they created in week three. Chicago showed that when clicking, they can play some defense, while the offense has the ability to create a robust run-game. Green Bay hits the road after this for back-to-back games and would like to leave for the road-trip on a winning note. It just seems like it might take a bit for the Packers to hit their stride fully and I see the Bears giving them a close divisional game on Thursday.
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