Chicago Bears (1-5) at Green Bay Packers (4-2)
This is a tough one to start the week. On one hand, the line shifted from 10.5 to 8 over the past week, as a result of Green Bay’s home loss to a good Dallas team, so we’re getting the Packers in a buy low opportunity. The Bears, meanwhile, have another tough game on deck against the Vikings and tough home games like that often are distraction for teams, as teams are 48-94 ATS before being 4+ point home underdogs since 2012. The Bears are expected to be at least home underdogs of that many points.
However, the Packers have a tough game on deck as well, as they head to Atlanta to face a good Falcons team next week. More important, even at 8, this line might be too high the way the Packers are playing right now. They enter this game just 13th in first down percentage differential, thanks to an offense that shockingly ranks just 14th in first down percentage. The Bears are not too much farther down at 19. Of course, if Aaron Rodgers can play like himself again, this line might be a good value in the other direction.
That’s far from a given though, as Rodgers has looked average at best since the start of last season. Last year, it was understandable because the Packers were missing top receiver Jordy Nelson and had other banged up players on offense, but Nelson is back and the Packers have been relatively healthy around him this season. Now in his age 33 season, it’s fair to question if he’s losing it a little bit, even in an era where top quarterbacks are staying top quarterbacks into their mid-to-late 30s.
Making matters worse, the Packers are missing a lot of key players on a short week, most notably running back Eddie Lacy. With backup running back James Starks also out, the Packers are very thin at the position and may have to start Knile Davis, acquired just this week from the Chiefs in a trade. They’re also very thin at cornerback, missing their top 3 cornerbacks with injury, Sam Shields, Quinten Rollins, and Damarious Randall. However, on paper, they still have enough of a talent advantage to cover this spread if everyone plays like they should. On top of that, Rodgers is 26-13 ATS off a loss in his career and him having a huge game that shuts up all of his critics (for now) is certainly not out of the question, especially against a mediocre Bears pass defense. Especially with another tough game on deck, I couldn’t bet anything on the Bears this week, but they’re the pick here.
Green Bay Packers 27 Chicago Bears 20
Pick against the spread: Chicago +8