A great week of football continues with the NFL’s oldest rivalry on Sunday Night Football as the Bears head to Lambeau Field to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay currently leads the NFC North at 7-3, but Chicago will be looking to close the gap as they sit in second place at 5-5.
Week 12 Prime Time Picks: Bears (+300) vs Packers (-8) O/U 44.5 – All lines via DraftKings
Prime Time Picks: 14-11
Bears Looking to Get Back on Track
After starting the season with a 5-1 record, the Bears have now lost four games in a row and have fallen to 5-5. The last time we saw the Bears in action, they were managing just 149 yards of total offense against the Vikings in a 19-13 loss. QB Nick Foles has not been able to sustain any offensive success, and the Bears are now turning to Mitch Trubisky once again. Foles has been unable to practice all week because of a hip injury he suffered near the end of the game against Minnesota. Foles was just not able to lead the offense to much of anything, as he posted a QB rating of just 44.4 in eight games this season with 10 TD’s and 8 INT’s. Although Trubisky wasn’t exactly putting up stellar numbers when he was their starter at the beginning of the season, there may be some hope on the horizon. The Bears are 3-0 in games started by Trubisky this season, and 2-0 in games when he played the entirety of the game. They will hope to regain that early season success once again with Trubisky back at the helm of the offense. A change of pace could provide a spark, and at the very least, Trubisky is more mobile than Foles, so his scrambling ability will be an upgrade in itself.
Green Bay Looking to Bounce Back
The Packers are kind of a tough team to figure out. At times this season, they have looked unstoppable, but at other times, they have been very disappointing. After a 4-0 start in which they averaged 38 points per game, Green Bay lost two of three, and looked pretty bad on the road against Tampa Bay losing 42-10. They bounced back with a 35-20 win over Houston, but then stumbled at home against Minnesota, losing 28-22. Then they picked up a solid win on the road against San Francisco 34-17, and followed that up with a win over Jacksonville 24-20 at home two weeks ago, although they were playing from behind for most of the game. Last week at Indianapolis, the Packers got out to a big lead early, but then saw it slowly fizzle away, and the Colts were able to win on a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal in overtime 34-31 (#RespectTheSpecs). After scoring 28 points in the first half, Green Bay was held to just 3 points in the second half. When they are clicking, they are very tough to stop, but when things are a little off, they are susceptible to underperforming and taking bad losses.
Aaron Rodgers Being Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is having a tremendous season. He is completing 68.2% of his passes and has 29 touchdown passes on the season, which is 2nd in the league. He has thrown just 4 interceptions and has the best rating among all quarterbacks in the NFL with a rating of 115.8. Rodgers is leading a Packers offense that is 3rd in the league in scoring, as they put up 30.8 points per game, and have scored 30+ points in seven of their ten games. Rodgers has also shined against the Bears franchise, as he has compiled a 18-5 record in 23 games and is 10-2 against them at Lambeau. In those 23 games, Rodgers has 47 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a rating of 104.0.
Bears Defense Remains Strong
As bad as the Bears offense has been, their defense continues to stay strong. The Bears are 9th in total yards, allowing 340.1 per game, and are 6th in total points, giving up just 20.9 points per game. Khalil Mack has 6.5 sacks on the season, and the front four of Chicago continually pressure opposing quarterbacks. Players like Mack, as well as Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Tashaun Gipson Sr, and Kyle Fuller make up a Bears defense that continually keeps them in games, despite the teams offensive woes. One thing that makes this defense especially tough is that they thrive on third down. The Bears lead the league in getting off the field on third down as they limit opposing teams to a 33.33% conversion rate. They are also stingy against the pass, as they are 10th in the league allowing 225 yards per game through the air. In addition, they stand second by allowing a 61.1% completion rate. As good as Aaron Rodgers has been, he might have his hands full with this defense, and it will be a fun matchup to watch. The Bears have yet to surrender more than 26 points in a game, so watching them go up against a Packers offense that has put up 30+ points in seven of their ten games will be very intriguing.
Bears are Rested
In the middle of a four game skid, a bye week could be exactly what the Bears needed. They were last in action on Nov. 16 on Monday Night Football against Minnesota, and after that six-point loss, they will look to use their bye week to regroup and put together a solid game plan for this divisional matchup. The 12 days between games could not only help the team as a whole regroup, but help Trubisky get more accommodated with the offense in preparation for Sunday night’s game.
As I stated earlier, the Packers are a tough team to figure out. They are 7-3, but only one of their seven wins has come against a team that has a winning record. They have been somewhat inconsistent, and have suffered bad losses to the Vikings and Buccaneers, while playing from behind for most the game against the 1-9 Jaguars. They are able to put up points quickly, but are susceptible to cold streaks. Turnovers have also hurt them, as they turned it over four times last week against the Colts, and it ended up proving very costly. The Colts have one of the best defenses in the league, and they were able to hold Green Bay to just 3 points in the second half. That gives me some pause as now Green Bay faces another top defense this week. Obviously there are a lot of question marks with the Bears offense, but I think the bye week will really help. In addition, I think Trubisky is an upgrade from Foles. I don’t know how much of an upgrade, but the change of pace could provide the spark they need. I just feel like 8 is a lot of points for a divisional game for one of the top defenses in the league coming off a bye. I’m taking the Bears +8.
Title Photo: Walter G Arce Sr / ASP, Inc.