Chicago Bears (1-3) +3, o/u 40 at Green Bay Packers (4-0), 8:15 pm Eastern Sunday, NBC
by Zman of Predictem.com
The longest-running rivalry in professional football continues when the struggling Chicago Bears visit the surprising Green Bay Packers for a Sunday night game at Lambeau Field.
Chicago may be the defending NFC champs, but they’re 1-3 this season after giving up a 13-3 fourth-quarter lead last week and falling to the Lions in Detroit 37-27 as three-point road favorites.
Green Bay is undefeated so far this season and has won eight straight games going back to last season after beating the Vikings in Minnesota last week 23-16 as one-point road chalk.
These two teams split their two meetings last season, with the Bears winning at Lambeau (for the third straight year) in the season opener and the Packers winning at Soldier Field in the season finale. But Chicago had already clinched home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs and had nothing to play for in that Week 17 match-up.
This year, the Bears are having problems on both sides of the ball. They played last week without five regular starters on defense, and their QBs own a 3/9 TD/INT ratio. Brian Griese is expected to get his second start of the year Sunday night, but he didn’t look like much of an improvement over Rex Grossman last week, throwing three INTs, one that went for a TD.
On the other side of this match, Green Bay has this guy named Favre at QB. He’s started 241 games for the Packers, and this year has completed 66% of his passes and owns an 8/2 TD/INT ratio and a 97.3 passing rating.
But GB has nearly abandoned their running game, which ranks dead last in the league at 54 yards per game, in favor of the short passing scheme. So far, it’s worked out well.
Chicago ranks 27th in the league in rushing at 83 YPG.
The Bears are getting outscored this year 24-15 and outgained by an average of 76 YPG.
The Packers are outscoring their opponents 26-17 and are outgaining foes by four YPG.
Chicago’s Devin Hester is a real weapon; he returned another kick for a score last week, his second of this season and seventh of his 20-game NFL career.
The Bears are 0-4 against the spread this year, while Green Bay is 4-0 vs. the numbers.
These two teams have played one common opponent so far this season. Chicago lost at San Diego 14-3 in Week 1 as seven-point road dogs, getting outgained 263-202. The Packers beat the Chargers two weeks ago 31-24 as five-point home dogs, outgaining S.D. 405-364.
The o/u is 2-2 in Bears games this year, which are averaging 39 points per, while the total is 3-1 in Green Bay games, which are averaging 43 points per.
Chicago is 0-2 both straight up and against the spread on the road this season, while the Packers are 2-0 both SU and ATS at home.
Green Bay opened up as 3 1/2-point home chalk for Sunday night’s game, with a total of 41, and those numbers have held steady in early betting action. Also, the Packers are listed at around -180 on the moneyline, with the Bears getting +160.
Zman’s Sunday Night Football Pick: We see a hard fought game here with the Bears redeeming themselves. Take Chicago and expect a much better showing from Griese.