BEARS (1-5) AT PACKERS (3-2), 8:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: WCBS (880)
Packers by 7.5; O/U: 46
The Packers are clearly a better team than the Bears.
But are they the bettor play in this matchup?
So often when trying to pick NFL games against the spread (ATS), we’re trained to just take the more talented team and assume they’ll cover. Yes, having Aaron Rodgers and Lambeau Field are always two huge bonuses for Green Bay.
But here’s the case to take Chicago with the points:
Exhibit A: The line continues to drop. It opened at 10 and in some places nine, and has moved closer to a touchdown. That means money is coming in on Chicago, and you have to ask yourself why? The obvious thinking is that the Pack will bounce back after a home loss to the Cowboys. But it’s a division game, a rivalry game, and Chicago did win at Green Bay last Thanksgiving. John Fox will have his team ready.
Exhibit B: Packers injuries. They may be without all three of their top cornerbacks. Sam Shields was placed on injured reserve and Quinten Rollins won’t play. Damarious Randall got hurt last week, and may not play. On offense, the Pack won’t have top back Eddie Lacy. They traded for talented Chiefs backup Knile Davis, but it’s asking a lot for him to make an immediate impact.
Exhibit C: Are the Bears who we thought they were? Their 1-5 record isn’t a surprise, but they’re a play or late miscue away the last two weeks from being 3-3. They’ve covered two of their last three.
Exhibit D: Hello, Hoyer. Jay Cutler who? Brian Hoyer is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s not making mistakes, and should be able to sustain some drives against a banged-up Packers secondary.
Closing argument: Something’s off with Rodgers and the Packers’ offense, which, save for a big first half against the Lions in Week 3, hasn’t been able to get into a rhythm. The Bears have enough in their favor to keep this close.
The pick: Bears
Tom Rock: Bears
Kimberley A. Martin: Packers
Bob Glauber: Packers