Week 3 of this NFL season features 8 divisional contests, with one of the most intriguing games involving two of football’s most storied franchises. Last year’s Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers will put their 2-0 record on the line as they travel to the Windy City to take on the 1-1 Chicago Bears in one of this Sunday’s late games. The Packers and their high scoring offense, led by 2011 Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, have picked-up right where they left off last year, and that is not a good thing for the rest of the league so far. Despite being one of the NFL’s highest scoring teams, (they rank fourth with 72 points, trailing only New England with 73, Detroit at 75 and Buffalo with 79 points scored) they do have some issues on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile the Bears have shown that they are capable of playing with some of the better teams in the league, they just haven’t shown that they can do it on a consistent basis week to week.
Green Bay vs. Chicago Spread, Line and Betting Odds
Green Bay Packers (-3.5, -110)
@ Chicago Bears (+3.5, -110)
Over 45.5 (-110)
Under 45.5 (-110)
Green Bay (-205)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.com <– Get $900 FREE at the best NFL betting site on your first deposit!!
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Green Bay vs. Chicago Pick:
Green Bay opened the season hosting the Saints, and Aaron Rodgers looked sharp in leading the Pack to a 42-34 win in their home opener. Packers fans were hoping that the 34 points put on the board against them by the Saints were just due to the play of Saints QB Drew Brees, but may be getting just a little concerned after rookie QB Cam Newton managed to help the Panthers lay another 23 on the Pack, even though Green Bay did manage to win the game 30-23. This week they get to face yet another quarterback who is quite capable of lighting up a suspect secondary, and Jay Cutler will look to do just that. Both of these teams are coming into this game with a number of injuries to deal with early in the season, but Green Bay has several key players and positions that are going to be without regular starters, or at least completely healthy starters. The Packers have two of their cornerbacks listed as questionable in this game, with Tramon Williams battling a shoulder injury that sidelined him last week against Carolina, and Davon House having missed the first two regular season games with an ankle sprain. Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson is listed as probable for Sunday because of an injured toe, but that is the type of injury that could make him lose a half a step, which Jay Cutler is sure to test. Another huge void in the Packer’s secondary is the loss of safety Nick Collins, who was carted off on a stretcher during last week’s Carolina Panther’s game, and will be out for the rest of the season with a neck injury. Linebacker Clay Matthews, although battling a quadricep injury, should be ready for Sunday’s game, which is certainly good news for Mike McCarthy.
Green Bay’s offense ranks 9th overall (8 passing, 11 rushing) and they should be able to move the ball against a Bears team with a 23rd ranked defense (22 against the pass, 20 against the run). The Saints were able to put 30 points on the board against the Bears secondary, so Rodgers will likely try to exploit the same weaknesses that Drew Brees did. The Packers are averaging 409 yards of offense a game, 4.7 yards/rush and 9.1 yards/pass attempt, meaning they are moving the ball quick and often when they have it. When they run the ball they are having success going to James Starks, who has 142 yards on 21 carries, for an impressive 6.8 yards per carry average. When they pass the ball, Rodgers has been able to throw for 620 yards and a 70.77 completion percentage so far, hitting for 5 TD’s and not throwing a pick yet this season.
When the Bears get the ball, they will mainly be trying to keep Jay Cutler vertical, as he has been taking a pounding in the first two games. Cutler has been sacked 11 times through the first two weeks, and the Packers will be bringing all kinds of pressure to try and force him into making mistakes. Green Bay will also be trying to use their pass rush to take some of the pressure off of their banged-up secondary, and the Bears better improve over the first two weeks or Cutler may last as long as he did in last year’s playoff game. Cutler is capable of putting up some points, but has only established a 53.2% completion rate so far this year, passing for only 556 yards and 3 TD’s in that span. Chicago will try and use a short drop and likely try and go to the run more, getting the ball out of Cutler’s hands much quicker and taking their shots down the field when the can. With defenses being able to get through the Bear’s O-Line so quickly though so far, Matt Forte has only managed 117 yards on the ground on 26 carries, although more touches will likely mean some longer runs. In short, Mike Martz better have a good game plan or Jay Cutler might actually start to dream of the good old days in Denver.
The Bears are 2-5 against the spread in their last 7 games against the Packers overall, and are 1-3 ATS over their last 4 against the Packers in Chicago.
Even though the Bears won by 3 points (20-17) last year when they hosted the Packers, I see Green Bay winning this game and covering the spread in the process. Until Chicago can prove to me they can protect their quarterback, I will take Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers and give the 3-1/2 points.