Jeff has lived and died betting with his heart this year, he probably has the actual stats but as near I can tell, he’s backed the Bears in at least all but two of their 13 contests.
Considering that Chicago is 4-9 against the spread this year, it hasn’t worked out very often for him.
Last week was one of the ones that actually worked for him though. Picking against an apparently fading Cowboys squad. I picked with the stats and history and got bit.
Both of us went with the under, which has been the way to go with the Bears to a 8-5 clip, but the Bears offense had other ideas and they exploded for 31 points, followed by the garbage time scores for Dallas and the over easily cleared.
Turning to the survivor pool: and then there were two. Only Pat and 43-Yard Attempt are left standing after four others dropped out by picking Houston and one who picked Seattle. 43-Yard Attempt might be kicking himself as he’s down to his final strike only because he forgot to lock in a pick two weeks ago. Ouch. But Pat is also down to his last strike. Good luck with your picks.
In the pick ‘ems, I’ve moved to third in the writers’ standings (T-5th overall) as Jeff passed me with an 11-point weekend and Lester still leads all with 107 points with WhiteH2O. There’s still eight of us within four points of the leaders.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-4.5, O/U 41)
Sunday, noon, FOX
Sam: This game has already seen a good amount of moment. It opened at some books at Packers -7, according to Vegasinsider.com but I first saw it at Packers -5 and it’s only come down since.
I imagine by the time this article has published the line will move further down. I like the Bears getting a bigger number but would lean Green Bay if it gets below 4.
The issue is history. The Bears have notoriously had their hearts ripped out by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers late in the season, save for when their head coach was already fired and their season in full-on dumpster mode.
That said, Matt Nagy has coached his team well in division games, going 6-2 against the North and 6-1 against the spread in those divisional games.
It’s going to be tough, Green Bay has lost only once at home this year, to the Eagles and are 6-4 as favorites. The Bears are 2-2 as dogs.
I am still putting aside these reservations and taking Chicago and the under. The Packers offense has struggled of late and against better defenses. I think 21-23 points wins this game for either team so really you just have to hope that only one team breaks 20 points, which I think is possible.
For other plays, I like the Bills (+2) going into Pittsburgh. I think their defense will challenge Devlin Hodges in a way he hasn’t been yet. I also like Carolina (+6) as home underdogs to a Seattle team coming off a Sunday Night Football game traveling cross-country.
Picks: Bears +4.5, under 41, Raiders and Bucs (survivor), Carolina +6 (bonus play), Buffalo +2 (bonus play)
Jeff: I’ve been waiting for a big week in the group pick ‘em and Week 14 came through in spades. I’m only two picks back from the big boss and ready to make my move. Over on the QB List, the other site I write for, my record in picks against the spread is a ridiculous 45-24-1. Apparently, picking every game against the spread isn’t exactly my bag but focusing on a few (and almost always non-Bears games) might be.
Anyway, I’m not sure it was blind faith last week, Sam, more of a gut feel that the Cowboys weren’t a good team and their season was going in a bad direction. When a team hasn’t won a game against anyone better than the freakin’ Dolphins, I don’t know why I should give them much credit, your fancy numbers not withstanding. I don’t know if the Bears are back for real as you can make good arguments that they haven’t won a game against serious competition since the Vikings game way back when. However, I like the Bears this week! (Shocker, I know, but stick with me)
The Bears offense seems to be on a roll and the return of Akiem Hicks is going to be huge not only for limiting Aaron Jones but to give the Bears a viable rush partner to Khalil Mack. I get it, it’s Aaron Rodgers, he’s a killer, etc. etc., but I’m weirdly confident in this Bears team to keep it close. The last time these two teams played, the Bears defense held Green Bay to 10 points. If they’re able to hold Rodgers and company to 20, I think the Bears offense can win this one outright.
The over/under on this one feels pretty accurate. I can see this game getting ugly and playing in the teens but given the Trubisky resurgence, I’m actually taking the over. Let’s do this thing! (Reminder: don’t listen to me on Bears picks.)
I forgot about the dang survivor pool. How quickly I forget when I’m knocked out of something. I would have played Green Bay and Cleveland last week, so that was good advice! This was a week I was a bit worried about when I tried to lay out a plan at mid-season (how optimistic!) but I’m liking my options right now. I would take the Buccaneers and the Rams this week. Two road teams that are slight favorites but I like their recent history of good play and the teams they’re playing (Detroit and Dallas) are falling apart. If those aren’t available to you, well, good luck picking in that Dolphins-Giants game!
Bonus picks... yes, I like the BUF +2 line like Sam does and I’m also in on the LAR -1 against Dallas. Both could be interesting games but when in doubt, take the team you think is playing better football.
Picks: Bears +4.5, over 41, Bucs and Rams (survivor), LAR -1 (bonus play), Buffalo +2 (bonus play)
Psst. Hey, you on the Twitter machine? Follow Sam @SamHouseholder and Jeff @gridironborn for semi-regular, semi-entertaining tweets.