In the regular-season finale, we have the classic NFC North divisional game this time between arch-enemy Chicago Bears and Green Bay. In week 12 the teams faced off in a matchup decisively won by the Packers, but ever since then, both teams have been undefeated. With playoff seeding as well as the spotlight of history once again trained at Soldier Field, this game promises to produce magic.
Spread: The Packers are 4 point favorites
Moneyline: Packers are -215 favorites
The opening line for the Jan. 3rd game actually started off with the Packers leading as 5 point favorites but that gap has narrowed as the week has progressed. How much of that is due to the announced injury sustained by All-Pro Tackle David Bakhtiari that will sideline him for the rest of the year, including the playoffs is undetermined but that injury certainly is a blow for the Packers. While the offensive line as a unit has been very resilient this year and has actually already had to deal with the big left tackle being sidelined earlier this season, it is always hard to replace the leadership that came with big 69.
The Bears offense has started to piece together a string of successes under the play-calling of Bill Lazor, who took over duties from embattled head coach Matt Nagy. Coming into the final week of the regular season, the Bears have ripped off four (4) straight 30 plus point performances which puts them right on level with where the Green Bay Packers have been all season. Michell Trubisky is in the best form of his professional career, and David Montgomery has really stepped up to take leadership in the backfield and showcase why he’s one of the most promising young backs in the league. Allen Robinson is in a contract year and will be paid well this offseason, and the stable of tight ends (including Packer’s favorite Jimmy Graham) has been performing well enough to change the trajectory of the Bear’s season from dead in the water to a playoff contender.
In order for this Bear’s team to pull off the upset, they will need to keep up with the Packers offense, get pressure on Rodgers through either five-man fronts or bringing an extra defender on the blitz to speed up the timing for the Packers offense, and in general play mistake-free football. Now this can be done, but given how well the Packers have handled opponents on the road and taken advantage of turnovers by the opposition and given Mitchell Trubisky is still lacing them up, the chance of turnovers will remain high. This will be a better game than earlier this year but I don’t see the upset.
Taking the Packers straight up as well as with the points.
Over/Under Total: 51.5
Similarly to the rest of the line, the over/under has risen from 48.5 at week’s open to 51.5 at the time of this writing. The weather is predicted to be 34 and sunny with low winds so fingers crossed that there are no external factors affecting this game, and given how much these teams have been scoring recently I don’t know how you could pick the under here. The public seems to agree so far, with 2/3 of the money being bet on point’s total going to the over.
Last Week-3-0 | Season Total- 16-13 (55%)
——————Joe Kelley is a lifelong Packer fan born in Wisconsin and currently living surrounded by Patriots fans in New England- please send messages of support to @Jkelleylol on Twitter or @j.k.lolz on Instagram.