Chicago is supposed to have its best offense in ages, and it sure looked that way in a 41-21 rout of Indianapolis. Meanwhile, the Packers got upset at home 30-22 by the 49ers. Will the Packers rediscover their offense now that they are not facing the best defense in the NFL? The oddsmakers seem to think so as Green Bay is a -6 favorite with the total set at 50½.
1. Why Chicago will cover the spread: The Bears will cover this spread if they are as diverse offensively as they were vs. the Colts last week. That makes Matt Forte probably the most important player in this contest, even more so than the two quarterbacks. Jay Cutler passed for 333 yards last week, and he looked to be having the most fun on the football field that he has had in years now that he is back in a conventional pro set and has so many nice weapons like Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery. However, Forte helped make all of that possible by rushing for 80 yards on 16 carries for a nice even 5.0 yards per rush, and remember that Forte is another component in the passing game that added 40 more yards on three receptions.
2. Why Green Bay will cover the spread: It is almost a given that the Packers will score points in this game, as Aaron Rodgers did pass for 303 yards vs. the stiff San Francisco defense, and running back Cedric Benson, who looked great in preseason while earning the starting job, merits a do-over here since nobody runs on the 49ers. However, the biggest key to Green Bay covering the spread is its defensive line’s ability to put pressure on Cutler and make him uncomfortable. Green Bay drafted Nick Perry to shore up the pass rush, and so far so good as the Packers recorded four sacks last week. Perry’s mere presence prevents teams from double-teaming Clay Matthews, and Matthews responded by recording 2½ of those sacks.
3. Total Talk: We like the ‘over’ here considerably better than any side. You will notice that both of our biggest keys have to do with the Chicago offense vs. the Green Bay defense, and that is because there is little doubt that the Packers will bounce back offensively here after losing at home, especially facing a lesser defense – no disrespect toward Chicago intended (the Niners are just that good). So the question becomes will the Chicago offense hold up its end? We say yes because we think that Forte will be effective running the ball, which would force the Green Bay defense to be honest and alleviate the pass rush enough to turn this into an exciting shootout.
4. Betting Trends for the game: Two leading trends that we see going by the wayside here are that the Packers are 7-2 ATS in the last nine heed-to-head meetings and the ‘under’ is 8-1 in those matchups. We think those trends are moot now because the Bears did not have an offense nearly this good over that span.
Green Bay 31 – Chicago 27