Chicago Bears (+9.5) at Green Bay Packers
Total points: 46
Jeremy: Last Thursday, the San Diego Chargers earned a much-needed win as they beat the Denver Broncos 21-13. Jeff and Jeremy missed on both the side and the total and will look to bounce back this week. They both now sit at 7-5 on the season in Thursday night picks. This week, the Bears visit Green Bay in an NFC North tilt. Will the Green Bay offense finally get going? Can the Bears get their second win of the year after dropping two close games in a row? Let's get to the picks.
The 3-2 Green Bay Packers welcome the 1-5 Chicago Bears into Lambeau Field. Green Bay has struggled recently on offense and is coming off a 30-16 home loss to the Cowboys while Chicago is coming off a crushing 17-16 home loss to the Jaguars. A game against the injury-ravaged Bears could be exactly what Aaron Rodgers needs to get this offense back on track. The Bears lack depth in the secondary and CB Tracy Porter is battling a knee injury but is expected to play. This will allow Rodgers to take some shots down field to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The Packers are dealing with their share of injuries as well. WR Davante Adams will miss this game with a concussion, RB James Starks is out with a knee injury and Eddie Lacy is reportedly out for several weeks with an ankle injury. In an effort to add depth to their depleted backfield, Green Bay traded for Knile Davis from the Chiefs. Look for Davis to get thrown into the fire against the league's 21st ranked run defense. In four starts since taking over for Jay Cutler in Week 2, Brian Hoyer has thrown for more than 300 yards in all four games and has six touchdown passes and no interceptions. He has developed a solid rapport with TE Zach Miller and WRs Alshon Jeffrey and Cameron Meredith. Rookie Jordan Howard has done well as an injury fill-in for Jeremy Langford but will find difficult sledding against the Packers top-ranked run defense. Because of this, I'm expecting Hoyer and the Bears to lean heavily on the passing game. The total for this game has been posted at 46. Green Bay is averaging 23 PPG while Chicago is averaging 24. Both teams’ secondaries resemble MASH units and I'm not expecting much out of either running game as mentioned above. With the focus on the passing games, I feel like this will turn into a relatively high-scoring game with both teams scoring in the mid- to upper-20s. Take over 46. As for the side, 9.5 is a big number. The Bears have lost only one game by more than a touchdown with Hoyer at quarterback and the Packers have yet to show they can pull away from anyone offensively. In their three wins, the Packers have won by an average of six points. I expect a similar outcome here. Green Bay will get the win but won't cover at home. Take Chicago getting 9.5.
Pick: Bears (+9.5)
Total points: Over 46
Jeff: The Packers will look to rebound after suffering a home loss to the Cowboys 30-16. The Packers never led in this game as they lost for the second time this season. The Bears fell to the Jaguars at home 17-16. The Bears were winning the entire game until they gave up a late touchdown pass which proved to be the difference. The Bears dropped to 1-5 for the season. The Packers offense is out of synch and QB Aaron Rodgers is uncharacteristically missing open receivers. Not sure if they will ever return to the explosive Packers offense we are used to seeing from years ago, but this matchup versus the Bears gives them an opportunity to take a step in the right direction. Look for Rodgers to get this offense back on track as they face a Bears defense that can be exploited in the passing game. The Packers will be without RB James Starks and RB Eddie Lacy this Thursday night. The Packers will use Ty Montgomery in the same role as they did in the Cowboys game. The Packers did trade for RB Knile Davis from the Chiefs earlier this week, but his status for this game isn't known. If he does play, it will be in a limited role due to the short preparation time. As for the Packers defensively, I expect them to rebound here after the Cowboys’ running game did a number on them. The Bears will struggle running the football which will force QB Brian Hoyer to beat them through the air. Hoyer has played well since taking over for the injured QB Jay Cutler as he has yet to throw an interception in 189 attempts. I expect that to change in this contest as I expect the Packers defense to force him into some forced throws resulting in miscues. In the end, Rodgers will bounce back here as he'll get his team back in the win column. The Packers have covered three out of the last four in the series. As for the total, this number keeps coming down which has got me siding with the over. I think this game will have a ton of passing attempts by both teams which will result in some big plays. I can also see a defensive or special teams touchdown thrown in the mix. In the last four games in this series, three of those contests have gone over the posted total.
Pick: Packers (-9.5)
Total points: Over 46