The NFL’s oldest rivalry is renewed this Thursday night when Chicago visits Green Bay in the 193rd meeting (including playoffs) between the two storied franchises. It is the 11th consecutive year that the Packers and Bears will play in prime time, and it concludes a four-game homestand for Green Bay. The Packers have dominated their southern neighbors under Aaron Rodgers and are a big favourite on Week 7 Sports Interaction NFL odds.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Point spread: Green Bay -7.5
Date: Thursday, Oct. 20, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
I’d like to say something positive about the Bears franchise right now, but they are in the worst shape they’ve been at in years; their season at 1-5. Injuries haven’t helped, but they happen to every team and Chicago has regressed in Year 2 under Coach John Fox. The Bears’ worst-ever record in a 16-game season is 4-12 and that’s in jeopardy. At this point, it’s probably better for the franchise to lose as much as possible and battle the winless Cleveland Browns for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bears haven’t had a Top 4 pick since 2005 and badly need a franchise quarterback to put the Jay Cutler era in the rear-view mirror.
Cutler has missed four straight games with a thumb injury and won’t play here. Backup QB Brian Hoyer has been good statistically in Cutler’s place with four straight 300-yard games, something Cutler has never done in Chicago. However, Hoyer’s yardage isn’t leading to many points as Chicago is 31st in the NFL in averaging 16.8 points per game.
Sunday was arguably rock bottom for the beleaguered Bears as they blew a 13-0 fourth-quarter home lead and lost 17-16 to Jacksonville, a team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2007 and had been 4-21 on the road under Coach Gus Bradley. Jaguars receiver Arrelious Benn had the winning 51-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown while subbing for Allen Robinson. Benn fell while catching the Blake Bortles pass, but Bears cornerback Tracy Porter neglected to touch Benn down.
To add insult to injury, Porter hurt his knee on the play and is questionable for Thursday. Chicago is already missing several projected defensive starters due to injury as well as Cutler, running back Jeremy Langford and receiver Kevin White. Fellow receiver Eddie Royal is in question this week.
The Bears are 1-6 against the spread in their past seven games overall.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers’ Rodgers was the betting favourite at Sports Interaction back in the preseason to win a third career NFL MVP Award, but he has struggled this season with Green Bay off to a 3-2 start. The best quarterback at Lambeau Field on Sunday in the Packers’ 30-16 loss to Dallas was Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott, not Rodgers. He did throw for a season-high 294 yards but didn’t lead a touchdown drive until more than midway through the fourth quarter while throwing an interception and losing a fumble on first-and-goal at the Dallas 1 in the third quarter.
Rodgers, one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history, is 26th in the NFL this year in completing 60.2 percent of his passes and, including playoffs, hasn’t thrown for 300 yards in 14 straight games. Rodgers missed a wide open Randall Cobb for a potential touchdown vs. the Cowboys and was actually booed by the Lambeau faithful, which had to be a first.
The Packers entered the Dallas game leading the NFL in run defense, but Ezekiel Elliott ran all over them for 157 yards. Green Bay hadn’t allowed a rush of 20 yards or more in the first four games, but Elliott had runs of 25 and 29 on his way to 97 yards in the second half.
Green Bay also has some injury concerns as No. 1 running back Eddie Lacy is in question with an ankle injury and backup James Starks is out a month. The team traded for Kansas City running back Knile Davis on Tuesday. Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga suffered a back injury vs. the Cowboys. And the team could be without its top three cornerbacks on Thursday. For sure, Sam Shields and Quinten Rollins remain out. Damarious Randall reinjured his groin in the first half vs. Dallas.
The Packers have covered five of their past six games after a loss.
Bears vs. Packers Prediction
Green Bay has won 10 of the past 12 meetings in the series and the Packers have scored at least 30 points in four of the last five against Chicago. The Packers also have won 11 of their past 12 home games during the month of October overall. The favorite has covered nine of the past 11 in the series and the over has hit in four of the past five. Green Bay and over it is.