The Bears still suck! I really do love the Bears-Packers rivalry. I do have friends that are Bears fans. They are real Bears fans, too, from Chicago or Illinois. No matter how much I am forced to interact with them, it’s nothing like dealing with the sea of overbearing Vikings fans that surround me. When I couple the fact that the Bears-Packers rivalry is much more significant with the fact that I don’t have to deal with Bears fans constantly, it’s just a much more enjoyable experience. The other thing that makes it an enjoyable experience is Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ .800 winning percentage in his career against the Bears. The only blemishes on his Bears ledger, oddly enough, are two losses on Monday Night Football. Rodgers will look to improve that mark and push his Packers to a 6-2 midpoint mark.
The Packers are about to enter a dangerous four game stretch leading up to a huge Thanksgiving matchup with the Detroit Lions. The Packer are at home for 3 of the next four games. They are 10 plus point favorites over the Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs-less Chicago Bears. They will also be double digit favorites over the Eagles at home (3-5), Giants on the road (2-6), and Vikings at home (1-6). It would be very easy for the team to set the cruise and slip up against one of these teams that they should beat. I really don’t think that is going to happen this week against the Bears, because of the rivalry, and because of the way that Chicago has a hard time matching up with the Packers with no Cutler and no Briggs. As with the Vikings, the Bears are dealing with a rash of injuries and they don’t have a Ted Thompson to provide roster depth.
Why the Packers Will Win: Aaron Rodgers owns the bears, for one. The other big reason is the fact that the Bears are beat up and are no longer elite defensively. The Bears offense had made enough of a stride to possibly make up for the defensive falling-off but the loss of Cutler likely negates that. When I say that the Bears have dropped off defensively that is actually a massive understatement. Chicago is 27th in the league in pass defense and shockingly also 25th overall against the run. The Packers offense is top 5 in both. The week after Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson and Co. hung 44 on Minnesota, I think that it’s completely possible that they hang half a hundred on the Bears. Defensively it looks like the Packers will get ILB Brad Jones back to shore up some depth at that position, but Clay Matthews will not play the same day that the pins are removed from his thumb, and Nick Perry does not appear that he is going to be able to give it a go. All of this might be irrelevant as the Sam Shields takes away Brandon Marshall, The front 7 takes away Matt Forte and Josh McCown scares nobody.
Why the Bears Will Win: I honestly think that the only way that the Bears win is if David Bakhtiari fails completely against Julius Peppers. With Henry Melton and Lance Briggs out and Charles Tillman ailing Peppers is all that the Bears have left as far as an impact player defensively. If Peppers is able to shut down the Packers passing game and cause problems for Eddie Lacy and the run game, it’s possible that the Bears could win a low scoring game. Matt Forte, Michael Bush and Josh McCown could move the Bears offense along slowly if the Peppers can get the Bears defense off of the field. The other opening that the Bears have is of course Devin Hester.
Fantasy Packer to Start: James Starks- I really do believe that if you are desperate, and with 6 teams on bye you certainly could be, James Starks could do enough against the Bears in limited work to be fantasy relevant. You’re obviously starting Rodgers, Nelson, Lacy, Boykin, Crosby, the Defense and James Jones if he plays, but I think you could get 45-60 yards rushing and a TD out of Starks again.
Fantasy Packer to Sit: None- seriously. I mean don’t start Myles White, but you weren’t going to do that anyway.
Packers Stat of the Week: the Packers 990 rushing yards are the second most in franchise history through seven games to only 1978’s 1,107.
Bottom Line: I understand that this is a rivalry game, really I do. It’s going to be a good old fashioned ass-whipping. There is no question about it for me. I don’t see how Chicago’s depleted defense is going to be able to deal with Green Bay, and if and when the Bears get down big, they’re going to remove running the ball with Matt Forte from their game plan. The Packers have been doing very well defensively without Clay Matthews, dialing up enough pressures to maintain a top 12 NFL ranking in sacks. It’s truly an astonishing feat when you consider how few games a team that plays a 3-4 has played without its pass rushing OLBs (Matthews and Perry). Josh McCown is going to spend plenty of time running away from Mike Daniels and looking at a Brandon Marshall being covered up by Sam Shields. Packers in another romp. Packers 45 Bears 20