An NFC North divisional showdown kicks off Week 7 of the NFL season as two struggling teams collide. It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Green Bay Packers this season. Many pundits had them pegged for a return trip to the Super Bowl, claiming Aaron Rodgers was finally healthy and ready for big things. That hasn’t been the case, as the offence has sputtered out of the gate, and with a 3-2 record, they are already a few games behind the Minnesota Vikings for the divisional lead. This is basically a must-win for the Packers on Thursday night.
For Chicago, while they’ve played to their expectations, or in some cases, exceeded them – they still are entering Week 7 with a dismal 1-5 record. Brian Hoyer has been quite the upgrade over Jay Cutler, and though they’ve shown some promise in recent weeks – this still isn’t a very good football team. The Bears are simply keen to play out the rest of this season, and hopefully get an impact player in the upcoming draft with their high selection.
Still though, you can bet the Bears will be looking to complicate matters for their bitter rivals. Green Bay looks vulnerable, and that should mean a pretty intriguing way to start things out for Week 7. Read on below for a full game breakdown and analysis for the Packers and Bears on Thursday Night Football.
Bears vs. Packers Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears +7.5 (-105)
@ Green Bay Packers =7.5 (-115)
Over 46 (-105)
Under 46 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bears vs. Packers Pick:
Aaron Rodgers is definitely off right now, as he’s not playing to his fully ability. I don’t think he’s hurt – but the Packers offence has been nowhere near as explosive as it could and should be. Look for that to slightly change this week as Green Bay takes on a Chicago squad with some holes that can be exploited. Right now, Chicago does not have good quality within their secondary and the Packers should be able to move the chains through the air. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both in for big games. Additionally, the Bears don’t bring much by way of the pass rush. They are a passive team and no real match for Green Bay’s incredibly solid offensive line. Rodgers should have the most time he’s seen this season, and that should lead to improved results on Thursday night. It is also worth mentioning that Eddie Lacy has been ruled out for Green Bay for this contest. The big back is expected to miss a few weeks. Look for the newly added Knile Davis to fill-in or Ty Montgomery to take some snaps out of the backfield. Regardless, the Packers still possess the talent to move the ball at will on Chicago’s defense.
Brian Hoyer at the helm has been pretty good compared to what Jay Cutler could do early in the season. He should be able to turn in another solid outing, as he’s had some receivers step up of late. Alshon Jeffery has always been a threat, but Cameron Meredith has been quite the revelation in recent weeks. Both of those guys will need to be closely watched by a depleted Packers’ secondary. The big question regarding the match-up on this side of the ball is whether or not Hoyer will have enough time to get rid of the football. Green Bay brings a ton of pressure and quality on their defensive line, and Chicago just has brutal offensive tackles. Look for Nick Perry and Julius Peppers to make things very difficult on Hoyer for all four quarters tonight.
Even with the ground game, Hoyer cannot look to Jordan Howard and have him bail the offence out, as he’s done in the past. Green Bay has improved mightily in recent weeks at stuffing the ground and pound and this week will be no different. The Packers’ solid D-line will drastically outplay what the Bears offer on their O-line, en route to a real mismatch in the trenches.
Despite Rodgers’ struggles of late and this malaise going through the Packers, they’re still a quality team with a plethora of dangerous options. The Bears are not good, and on a short week with little time to prepare for a team with Green Bay’s quality, look for the Packers to break out in a big way tonight. Green Bay will be a real step-up in class for the Bears, and I expect a comfortable double-digit victory for the home side.
PICK = Packers -7.5 (-115)