If you’re wondering why the undefeated Chicago Bears are four-point underdogs to the 1-2 New York Giants (who, let’s be honest, have not looked great in back-to-back weeks) — you are not alone. The surprising point spread for this weekend’s big Sunday Night Football affair is one of the most befuddling NFL football betting lines of the season.
The Bears have done almost everything right through the first three weeks of the season. They’ve knocked off the Lions, Cowboys and Packers. The defense has been outstanding against the run and provided timely turnovers when needed. The special teams have been solid — KR ace Devin Hester is back returning punts and ripped one off for a TD against Green Bay on Monday night. And then there’s Jay Cutler, who has seemingly put last year’s struggles behind him and is morphing into one of the league’s elite quarterbacks.
Conversely, the Giants have done little right to start the year. They have no composure (against Tennessee, the G-Men were flagged a ridiculous five times for personal fouls). They’re not running the ball well. They got shellacked by the Colts and Titans and were neck-and-neck with the woeful Panthers before putting them away in the second half. They’ve lost safety Michael Johnson for the year and WR Mario Manningham is out this week with a concussion. They’ve been called out by former DE Michael Strahan for “coming unraveled” and coach Tom Coughlin has moved to the top of “first coach to be fired” lists across the country.
Yet the Bears are still underdogs in this game, and we can’t figure out why.
Detroit Lions (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (2-1)
A classic NFC North battle on the horizon here, albeit in less than classic conditions. The Lions (+14.5) have gotten off to their usual Lion-y start, falling to 0-3 after losing franchise QB Matthew Stafford in the first game of the season. Now they’ll get the Packers in Green Bay, a less-than-ideal situation given how the Pack lost their recent Monday Night affair in Chicago.
The Packers were flagged a franchise-record 18 times on Monday for a whopping 152 yards — something that’s been a re-occurring problem since Mike McCarthy took over as coach in 2006. Since then, the Pack have become one of the NFL’s most penalized teams, a major problem for a well-rounded group with serious Super Bowl aspirations. So, expect one of two things to happen — the Pack come out and prove doubters wrong with a clean, hard-fought and comprehensive effort against Detroit…Or they continue to self-implode, make reckless plays and take dumb risks as the Lions manage to stick around until the bitter end.
Couple of notes to pass your way for this one: The Lions were missing five starters at practice this week — Stafford, WR Nate Burleson, RB Jahvid Best, LB DaAndre Levy and S Louis Delmas. While it’s highly unlikely Stafford will be playing this weekend (suppose there’s a chance, but Detroit doesn’t want to mess around with a separated shoulder), there’s no official report on whether the other four will play. Consider them likely, especially Best — he’s been the one salvation for the Lions this year, jumping out in front for the Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy.