Bears fans hate the Packers more than any other team, especially for the past two decades or so because Green Bay has had a stellar quarterback beating the Bears regularly since Brett Favre took over in 1992 and was replaced by Aaron Rodgers in 2008. Chicago hasn't had a franchise quarterback arguably since Jim McMahon. I mention this because a Bears-Packers game normally would draw massive TV ratings in the Windy City.
I don't know what the record-low rating is for a Chicago-Green Bay prime-time game as it is this Thursday, but this week's will not be good because this game is opposite Game 5 of the Cubs-Dodgers NLCS. Chicago fans already are turned off by their 1-5 football team as this could be the worst Bears team since the 1969 club finished 1-13. I'm not sure Coach John Fox or GM Ryan Pace will make it past this season, just their second with the team.
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Green Bay (3-2) is still an NFC contender, but the Packers have really been inconsistent offensively this year. Aaron Rodgers simply hasn't looked like a two-time MVP since early last season. I truly believe Coach Mike McCarthy could be fired after this season if the Packers miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
This is the 191st regular-season meeting of the NFL's oldest rivalry. Chicago leads 93-91-6 but has been dominated this decade in the series.
Bears at Packers Betting Story Lines
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been a pathetic road team for the past several years, but they managed to rally from a 16-7 deficit with five minutes left in Chicago on Sunday for a 17-16 stunner that is being called rock bottom for the Bears franchise. Jags receiver Arrelious Benn, who hadn't played in the NFL before this season since 2012, scored the winning 51-yard TD reception when Bears defender Tracy Porter failed to touch Benn after he fell making a short catch from Blake Bortles. Benn got up and ran in the end zone untouched. It was only the Jaguars' fifth road win in 26 tries under Coach Gus Bradley. The Bears are now 2-9 at home under Fox.
The Chicago offense had a solid enough game with 389 yards. Brian Hoyer had his fourth straight 300-yard game with 302 yards, but he didn't have a TD pass and even though the Bears are moving the ball under Hoyer they aren't scoring much. Chicago is 31st in the NFL at 16.8 points per game. Hoyer will start again here as Jay Cutler isn't ready to return from his thumb injury yet. Other than receiver Alshon Jeffery, who probably leaves as a free agent this offseason, and maybe rookie running back Jordan Howard, there's not much to get excited about on that side of the ball. The Chicago defense is even more anonymous and missing several injured starters.
The Packers were thoroughly dominated in Sunday's 30-16 home loss to Dallas as Dak Prescott looked like the veteran with two MVPs on his resume and with a Super Bowl ring, not Rodgers. Sure, Rodgers threw for a season-high 294 yards, but he didn't get Green Bay into the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter and turned it over twice. He has really had a problem with fumbles thus far. I wonder is he's healthy. In his last seven outings (playoffs included), Rodgers is 3-4 with six INTs and 22 sacks taken. He was actually booed at Lambeau on Sunday. The one offensive bright spot from the loss was Ty Montgomery breaking out with 10 catches for 98 yards. He hadn't caught a pass all season and also took a few carries.
Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy played through an ankle injury vs. Dallas but is in question this week. Backup James Starks is out a month following knee surgery. Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) and No. 3 receiver Davante Adams (concussion) are in question. Defensively, the Packers could be without their top three cornerbacks in Sam Shields (concussion), Damarious Randall (groin) and Quinten Rollins (groin).
Bears at Packers Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Green Bay is a 10-point favorite (+110) with a total of 46. On the moneyline, the Packers are -385 and the Bears +318. On the alternate lines, the Packers are -9.5 (+100), -9 (-110), -8.5 (-110), -8 (-115) and -7.5 (-120). Chicago is 1-5 against the spread (0-3 on the road) and 3-3 "over/under" (2-1 on road). The Pack are 2-2-1 ATS (1-1-1 at home) and 2-3 O/U (1-2 at home).
The Bears are 7-15 ATS in their past 22 vs. the NFC North. They are 1-4 ATS in their past five on Thursday. The Packers are 5-1 ATS in their past six following a loss. They are 2-7 ATS in their past nine at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The under is 4-1 in the Bears' past eight vs. the NFC North. It is 8-1 in Green Bay's past nine at home. The favorite is 9-2 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under is 6-2 in the past eight in Green Bay.
Bears at Packers Betting Prediction
Green Bay usually plays well after a loss, covering seven of its past 11 after one since 2014. And Rodgers has a spectacular record this decade in home prime-time games. The Packers have won 10 of the past 12 meetings vs. the Bears but not the most recent one, a 17-13 home loss last Thanksgiving. Rodgers had one of his worst games in the series on a rainy night. It was Cutler's first-ever win at Lambeau. But this Bears team is much worse than that one. Give the 9-point alternate line and go under the total.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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