Green Bay Packers (4-8) at Chicago Bears (3-9)
The Packers are 4-8, a year after going 13-4, but their drop off isn’t all that surprising. Despite their record last season, the Packers finished just 10th in point differential and 11th in overall efficiency, even with an MVP season from Aaron Rodgers who, as good as he is, was no guarantee to play at quite the same level in 2022, now in his age 39 season. Add in the loss of by far their top wide receiver Davante Adams this off-season and some regression was to be expected from them, especially on offense.
In many ways, things have gone how you might expect, given the circumstances. The Packers’ defense has remained middling, ranking 17th in defensive efficiency in 2021 and 20th in 2022, but their offense has fallen off significantly, falling from 4th in offensive efficiency a year ago to 15th this season, while their horrendous special teams that ranked dead last in efficiency a year ago has only been slightly better this year, ranking 30th. All in all, the Packers rank just 23rd in the NFL in overall efficiency when adjusted for schedule, about two points below average.
The Packers have also been especially bad on the road this year, going 1-6 with a -44 point differential away from Lambeau, as opposed to 3-2 with a -4 point differential at home, which is nothing new for them, as they have consistently underperformed on the road with Aaron Rodgers, whose QB rating drops 10 points on the road, far above the league average. Given that, I am tempted to go against them on the road this week in Chicago as 3.5-point favorites, a bigger number than you might realize, with 1 in 4 games being decided by a field goal or less, including 1 in 6 by exactly a field goal.
However, the Bears are just too banged up to take this week unless we were getting a bigger number. They’ll get Justin Fields back from a one-game absence this week and he elevates their offense significantly, but he’ll be missing his top wide receiver Darnell Mooney for the first time this season, while their defense, which has been horrendous since trading away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, will be without their two starting safeties Jaquan Brisker and Eddie Jackson due to injury, a big absence as they were two of their better players that side of the ball. I can’t take the Packers with any confidence, but they still seem like the better side for pick ‘em purposes against a skeleton crew Bears team.
Green Bay Packers 31 Chicago Bears 27
Pick against the spread: Green Bay -3.5