Chicago Bears (1-5 SU, 1-5 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (3-2 SU, 2-2-1 ATS)
Week 7 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, October 20, 2016 at 8:25PM EST
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: CHI +9/GB -9
Over/Under Total: 46.5
The Chicago Bears come to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football. The Bears are hurting after a loss last week at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Up by 9 halfway through the fourth quarter, the Bears gave up two late scoring drives to another one-win team, losing by a single point, 17-16. Now they leave Soldier Field to soldier on to Lambeau. The Packers fell to 3-2 on Sunday in a 30-16 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys. They look to get back on the right track this week against the hurting Bears.
Again, we saw the disconnect the Bears are experiencing with production and actual points. Brian Hoyer was over 300 yards once again, with some nice offensive production all around and they still netted a sorry 16 points—one lone touchdown and three field goals. They have a top-ten offense in terms of sheer yardage, yet are the second-worst team when it comes to scoring. Penalties have been a problem, but on Sunday they had no turnovers. Last week in their 29-23 loss to Indy, they put up over 500 yards of total offense. Their red zone performance has been putrid and they have no clutch on this offense.
Granted, Brian Hoyer has been prolific at times at QB. He is bringing to life the receiver crew, with Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal being productive, along with a huge spurt from Cameron Meredith, who has 27 receptions in the last two games. They didn't get a lot of production from RB Jordan Howard on Sunday, though he did run in a score. But forced into action with injuries in the backfield, Howard has been making gains. Again, an offense can be good, but unless there is some follow-through, it doesn't count for a lot. It's worth noting that they can move the ball and remain a dangerous offense with some weapons at their disposal.
The Chicago defense has played a bit better in their last three games, allowing just 17 to Chicago and 14 to Detroit in their only win a few weeks ago. Again, follow-through and being clutch is what it's all about and they didn't get much on Sunday late. Particularly on the defining play of the game, a catch and run by Arellious Benn, when some slapstick "D" paved the way for the Jacksonville comeback. The defense is OK. They get a nice pass rush from time to time, as Willie Young has five sacks in the last two games. Tracy Porter picked off his second pass on Sunday, though slipped when he could have tagged a befallen Benn and had him down. They're not nearly good enough to make up the difference with a dysfunctional offense on the loose.
Green Bay came across a tough Dallas defense on Sunday, but something seems amiss with the Packers heading into week 7. Aaron Rodgers is still who he is, but his performances at times this season seem strangely off-key. He's missing throws we're not used to seeing. His playmakers have also been dealing with some inconsistency. They got a great performance from Ty Montgomery on Sunday, but depth isn't the issue. Guys like Jordy Nelson are off their peak form, as he's made some costly drops this season, including a costly fumble after a catch on Sunday. Randall Cobb caught a TD pass on Sunday, but has been quiet at times. Eddie Lacy is not the consistent producer he once was, despite a few impressive runs on Sunday. Either way, without Rodgers being Rodgers, this offense is going to struggle. There really is no reason they should be the 25th ranked passing offense in the NFL.
The Green Bay defense had improved last season and wasn't bad to start the season in spots. But the fact that they're banged up so bad in the secondary hasn't helped, as we see receivers burning this group. They were battered on the line of scrimmage against the Cowboys. After allowing 171 rushing yards through their first four games, they gave up 191 to the Cowboys on Sunday at home. If their run-defense keeps playing like that, it's not going to be easy for this defense this season.
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At first glance, we see a Green Bay team struggling on both sides of the ball. The offense has been lukewarm more often than not, as the defense battles the injury bug and tries to keep its head above water. At the same time, they lost the Vikes and Cowboys, two teams that would be unbeaten if not for a week one loss by Dallas. And they're still above .500 so they haven't exactly been that horrible this season. It's just that we're seeing some things that could keep the Packers out of the hunt this season if they don't address it. But you know they will. Expecting the Packers team that we saw against Dallas to be the Packers team we see all season could be a bad mistake. Then again, so could expecting them to snap out of this funk suddenly.
If the Packers secondary continues at this rate, it's not that hard to picture Brian Hoyer and Company putting up some major yardage against this bunch. However, the home Packers "D" can be pretty clutch and stout when things get critical and Chicago has a major disorder on its hands with turning production into scoring. After getting booed at home last week, I see the Packers able to make it happen against a roughed-up Bears defense. But the big spread seems almost in the spirit of past Green Bay teams and we're not seeing that on a consistent basis this season. I'll take the points.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Chicago Bears plus 9 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Chicago vs. Green Bay Thursday Night game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!