The tables have been turned between long-time rivals the Bears and Packers. Chicago has risen to the top of the NFL North as well as the entire league while Green Bay is scrambling to just stay alive in the playoff race. Sunday’s rematch at Soldier Field finds the two teams in completely different places.
The Bears come in fresh off their impressive win last Sunday night against the Los Angeles when they held the high-flying Rams offense to just a pair of field goals in a 15-6 win. A win Sunday and Chicago can clinch the division title.
Green Bay parted ways with head coach Mike McCarthy two weeks ago with the team flailing around under the .500 mark. Interim coach Joe Philbin is now calling the shots and the Packers were able to right the ship at least somewhat last Sunday with a much-needed 34-20 win over Atlanta just to get to 5-7-1.
With those stories as a backdrop, Sunday’s renewal of the league’s oldest rivalry presents some interesting decisions for NFL betting enthusiasts.
It’s no understatement to say the Bears defense won the game against the Rams. Jarod Goff posted a career-low 19.1 passer rating and NFL leading rusher Todd Gurley was limited to 28 yards on 11 carries.
The “D” also picked off four passes and scored a safety. Linebacker Khalil Mack continues to lead the stellar squad and has 10 sacks on the season and is tied for first in the NFL with six forced fumbles.
Shutting down Gurley kept the Bears streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher in regulation all year.
The Bears did lose one of their defensive keys when cornerback Bryce Callahan broke his foot in the Rams game. He will be lost for the remainder of the season.
Prince Amukamara, who had a big game versus LA with six tackles will need to be an even bigger presence not just Sunday but for as long as Chicago’s season progresses. Veteran Sherrick McManis moved nickel back against the Rams and will also have increased importance.
Green Bay enters the game with the NFL’s 16th-ranked defense and the 11th-ranked offense. Their passing game led by Aaron Rodgers has been their key to many of their victories. The Rodgers led passing attack is ranked 10th in the league.
Rodgers led a miracle comeback to beat the Bears in the season opener in September. Chicago jumped out to a 20-0 lead, but Green Bay methodically came back, and Rodgers performed some trademark magic for a 21-20 win.
But that was then and this is definitely now. The Bears defense, which allows just 19.0 points and 309.9 total yards per game, is one of the best in football. Green Bay’s offense still rides on Rodgers’ right arm, but he is seriously lacking weapons around him.
The Bears will win the game and also cover the spread. Bet Chicago -5.5 with Karamba.
NFL bookmakers, including 888Sport set the line at 45. And as good as Chicago’s defense was against the Rams, there was much to be desired about the offensive attack.
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky returns after a two-week layoff nursing a shoulder injury and his time away from the field showed. The sophomore QB completed 16 of 30 passes for 110 yards with one touchdown, three interceptions and a career-low 33.3 passer rating.
The passing game’s troubles put more emphasis on the running attack. Jordan Howard rushed for 69 of his game-high 101 yards on 12 carries in the final two quarters. Howard literally carried the offense with some relief from sparkplug Tarik Cohen.
But after a string of games around midseason when scoring points was commonplace, Chicago’s offense in recent weeks has not been hitting on all cylinders.
The Packers aren’t exactly an offense dynamo these days either. Green Bay is ranked 15th in the league and is averaging 24.2 points per game. Yes ,they put up 34 points last week against Atlanta, but that was against the 29th ranked scoring defense in the NFL.
It’s hard to imagine that same success against Mack & company. There’s also the wild card of December weather in Chicago, which more than likely won’t be a picnic Sunday afternoon.
This one has the look of not being an up-and-down-the-field contest, so bet the under with 888Sport.
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