Green Bay Packers (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (3-5 SU, 5-3 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: Sunday, November 12 at 1pm ET
Where: Soldier Field
by Evergreen, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +5.5/CHI -5.5
Over/Under Total: 38
In a year with very few truly good teams, something has gone very wrong if your favorite team is dead in the water at this point. Some, like Cleveland and San Francisco, are just plain bad. Most others that are struggling are doing so because of injuries, including the Green Bay Packers. Winning without Aaron Rodgers was never going to be easy but Green Bay suddenly looks like one of the worst teams and both sides of the ball are to blame. The Packers head to Chicago this weekend with their season teetering on the edge. A win would keep Green Bay above .500 and provide a little hope but another dud could have the heat turned up on certain individuals in the front office. Chicago hasnt looked like a relevant contender for much of the season but they have eyes to the future as they kick the tires on Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears have a solid defense and Im sure they are licking their chops with a wounded opponent heading into Soldier Field.
You have to go back to the 2009 season to find the last time Chicago was favored over Green Bay. That is essentially a lifetime ago in NFL terms but the Bears opened this week as three point favorites with the early betting pushing the line to five and half. Green Bay is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall and have just one win against the spread in their last seven games following a straight up loss. Chicago has a nice 4-0 ATS run going at home but they have struggled coming off the bye in recent years with a 1-4 ATS mark in their last five after a week off.
Green Bay remains of the most injury-prone teams of 2017. Tackle Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL last week and is out for the season. The Packers had their preferred five on the offensive line together for just 57 snaps this season and that is a big part of the 27 sacks they have allowed. Justin McCray is a primary back-up on the O-Line but he is questionable with a bad ankle. Safety Morgan Burnett will miss the game Sunday and Green Bay is also down a couple of depth linebackers. Tight End Martellus Bennett was dealing with a bad shoulder and was due to miss Sunday as well but that point was rendered moot as Green Bay cut the veteran pass-catcher on Wednesday. Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers will step into larger roles with Bennetts exit.
It has been a rough learning curve for Brett Hundley. The scrambler from UCLA has put together solid preseason efforts and instilled confidence in practice but things seem to be moving pretty fast for him now that the rush is real. Hundley did look better during the scripted first drive against the Lions but missed a wide open Jordy Nelson for what would have been a walk-in touchdown as he was focused on the collapsing pocket. Nelson, along with Randall Cobb and Davante Adams likely make up the best 1-2-3 punch in the wide receiver world but Hundley has not been able to find them on anything other than short stuff so far. Hundley is completing 59% of his passes but is averaging just five yards per attempt and has not thrown a touchdown in either start. He does have two rushing touchdowns and can certainly move the ball with his legs but he is not an accurate thrower outside the pocket. Chicago is 11th against the pass and 8th in total yards allowed so it does not seem that Hundley is ripe for a breakout effort this week.
Mike McCarthy has spoken about getting the run game going to help his young QB heading into the Detroit game but inexplicably limited Aaron Jones to just five carries total. Jones is averaging 5.3 yards per carry so you do have to wonder if the Packers can commit to the run or if the pass is just who they are, no matter the QB. They could take a lesson from the Bears as Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen has been utilized heavily in an effort to ease Trubiskys transition to starter. Howard is 5th in the league in rushing yards and Cohen leads the team in receptions. The Bears have been decimated by WR and TE injuries so the cupboard is a bit bare for the passing game. That makes sticking with the run is a near-must with Trubisky completing less than 50% of his passes. Look for Chicago to see more success on the ground as Green Bay is 23rd in rush defense and allow nearly four yards per rush. That defense is allowing teams to convert on 44.4% of third downs and that is a number the Bears would take as it would mean they are seeing a lot of short yardage scenarios.
The Chicago defensive front against the Green Bay offensive line is a key matchup in this game. Chicago has sacked the QB on 23 occasions and there will not be progress for Hundley and the offense if Bear pass-rushers are consistently getting home. Hundley is too skittish right now and desperately needs a clean pocket to see anything beyond the first read. A little more read-option could help slow the ends from crashing but the Packers never called another true read-option look after gaining nine yards on one call during the first series last week. They called one end-around as well that gained some yards but again, never came back to that kind of call. McCarthy really needs to call some more of those misdirection plays to stop the defenses from teeing off on his QB.
This one might set NFL football back a couple of decades as neither team is very good. The Chicago defense is the best unit on the field Sunday and that is a big reason they are getting the betting favorite love. Aaron Rodgers absence can explain everything about the current offensive woes but there is no real explanation for the poor defensive play by the Packers. Dom Capers is short of playmakers in his 3-4 scheme and Green Bay has slipped all the way to 22nd in point allowed at 23.9 per game. The modest over/under of 38 suggests that no one is expecting either team to score much and that makes the 5.5 point line huge. I can see Chicago winning a really ugly affair but Trubiskys inefficiency and the lack of outside playmakers makes Green Bay the better bet. This could easily be a 14-10 game or even less to be honest but I think Chicago escapes with a 17-14 win, giving Green Bay the ATS nod.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Green Bay. - Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% bonus up to $250 at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted betting sites: BOVADA