On a short week following an emotional overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chicago Bears can get their 2017 season back on track and get to .500. Standing in their way, are the long-time rival Green Bay Packers, who coincidentally are looking to take a lead in the two teams' all-time series for the first time since 1933. A difficult but important task all around for Chicago.
Yet, for the first time in quite awhile, it feels like the gap between the Bears and Packers may be significantly narrowed. Aside from the obvious advantage at quarterback with Aaron Rodgers for Green Bay, at most other positions the Bears seem well-equipped to expose and use against their biggest rival. In primetime at Lambeau Field with these two - anything can happen.
Here are WCG's staff picks for Bears-Packers on Thursday night.
This is the most winnable game in Lambeau in a long time for the Bears. The Packers will have their top three offensive tackles out (hello Leonard Floyd), are extremely banged up on defense, and are relying on Rodgers-magic more than ever. It's a golden opportunity to not only establish yourself in the division, but keep the Packers from taking the all time series lead for the first time in decades.
However, I will believe these Bears are ready to take that next step against Green Bay and take advantage when I actually see it.
Packers 24 Bears 20
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
Green Bay's lack of tackles leads to a few timely sacks from Leonard Floyd, Willie Young and Pernell McPhee. Chicago's offense will overcome more bad Mike Glennon quarterbacking and sneak in one touchdown on the ground.
That score makes me remember this Monday Night game
Bears 10 Packers 9
I still don't believe in the quarterback. But the running game and the defense could pull off a shocker.
Bears 17 Packers 14
I want to believe. But I don't think it happens.
Packers 21 Bears 17
I truthfully believe that the Bears have the superior roster. The Bears have the distinctive edge in rushing offense, defense and special teams. The Packers are beat up and weren't great to begin with, but I have a bad feeling about this game. No. 12 knows how to confound the pass rush and defensive coordinator Dom Capers knows how to hold the offense down and attack a quarterback like Glennon. Simply put, the equalizer here is the quarterback: they have one and we don't ... yet.
Packers 23 Bears 13
The Bears have managed to play close with the Packers since John Fox arrived and even pulled off an upset on Thanksgiving a little under two years ago. However, like Robert, I cannot pick the Bears until I see it. This is a winnable game but I don't think Glennon can go toe-to-toe with Green Bay. With him at quarterback, I can't see the Bears scoring enough points. The game has to be won on the ground. The secondary played well Sunday so it's not impossible, but I can't put the Bears there yet.
Packers 20, Bears 14
Going for the brass ring.
The Bears come out and play listless football in the first half under Glennon (surprise) and Green Bay rolls up two touchdowns. Midway through the second, Glennon gets slammed in the pocket and rolls the ankle on his plant foot. Unable to continue, Mitchell Trubisky straps up his helmet and steps in, rallying the Bears to a field goal before the half.
Sensing the momentum has shifted, Chicago's defense plays a ferocious second half allowing only a field goal the rest of the way. Trubisky finds his rhythm driving the offense to two touchdowns to tie it up and runs an effective two-minute drill to put the Bears in position for the field goal to win it. Biggest stretch? Barth actually makes the pressure kick on the road to win it.
Bears 20 - Packers 17
Fox's close to the vest strategy with the media finally pays off with a strategic advantage when he drops a Biscuit bomb on the Packers that nobody prepared for. The Packers' injured defense can't contain the talented rookie and Rodgers doesn't have enough tricks up his sleeve to keep up behind a decimated offensive line.
Bears 45 Packers 31
The Bears haven't trailed the all-time series since 1932. I'm afraid that streak comes to an end Thursday. Jordan Howard was not listed on the injury report Monday, but I can't imagine he's 100 percent after the Steelers game. I also suspect that Glennon is feeling the heat to perform after offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said the team would struggle to win with only 100 yards passing. Is Glennon going to overcompensate and try to make throws he cannot make? Nothing about this game feels good to me, although I'll bet Floyd bags his first sack of the season.
Packers 20, Bears 7
It makes a lot of sense for the Bears to win this game. After all, Green Bay's defense has plenty of holes and their offensive line is weak. However, the likelihood of winning is probably going to mean that the Bears will lose this game. Rodgers is still Rodgers, and as long as he's around, the Packers will at least be playoff contenders. We know that the Bears can run the ball, but their lack of a dynamic passing attack could cost them. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if they were to beat the Packers at home in November.
Packers 27 Bears 24
The Green Bay Packers are Aaron Rodgers and 52 "guys".
Okay, let me rephrase that. The Packers are Aaron Rodgers, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and 51 "guys".
Don't get me wrong, Aaron Rodgers is a god-level quarterback. He's the best to have ever played the game, he's THAT good. If anything he's underrated. Clinton-Dix is a fine safety, one of the best in the business, and will be a perennial Pro Bowler and even All Pro.
But then ... there are the 51 "guys", some of whom are hurt.
They have no real running game. Their offensive line is injured and even if healthy, overrated. Their wide receiver corps is better than ours, but frankly Mount Carmel's wide receiver corps is better than ours, so that's not saying much. Their run defense is BAD: they are allowing 4.5 yards per carry and only one of the three teams they have faced so far is above average in rushing (Atlanta). The other two run offenses (Seattle and Cincinnati) are below average. Seattle's offensive is so bad they can't even stand up, let alone pass block.
We should run over these people, but we need to play clean and limit the turnovers. We need to get Rodgers rattled. I think we win this game.
Bears 30 Packers 17
How dare some of our colleagues pick against the beloved. This one is gonna be a laugher. Mike Glennon will pass for a robust 97 yards and two touchdowns, Jordan Howard will run for 210 hard fought yards with a trifecta of tuddys, and Tarik Cohen will have an even 100 on the ground for two scores, and another 199 through the air, with two more TDs, as Dowell Loggains turns the Human Joystick loose as their Wildcat quarterback.
Defensively it’ll be Leonard Floyd leading the way with four sacks, and a pick-6. Rookie Eddie Jackson will get in on the pick sixsational party with one of his own, and Eddie Goldman will drop #7 for a safety.
As for the specialists, Conner Barth will boot about three or four, maybe five, field goals just to give the Bears’ offense a break. Patrick O’Donnell will run one in on a fake punt. And last but not least, Marcus Cooper will scoop up a Sherrick McManis blocked field goal and run it all the way THROUGH THE FREAKING END ZONE, for a touchdown.
Bears 77 Packers 3
We have a bonus prognosticator this week. Our friends over at Numberfire have the Packers with a 70% chance to win this game.
They also have some fantasy guesses right here.
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