Packers battle Bears
September 11, 2012
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CHICAGO BEARS (1-0) at GREEN BAY PACKERS (0-1)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Green Bay -6 & 51
Opening Line & Total: Packers -5 & -50
After losing its opener to San Francisco, the road doesn't get much easier for Green Bay when it hosts the rival Bears on Thursday night.
The Packers have beaten Chicago four times in a row SU (3-1 ATS), and should be looking forward to this one after being smothered by San Francisco's elite defense last week. The Bears offense looked good in a warm-up opener against Indy, racking up 41 points and 428 yards of offense against a weak defense. The Packers defense has struggled over the past year, but Chicago has posted no more than 21 points in the teams' past five meetings while averaging 15.0 PPG. The Bears did manage to run for 199 yards and control the clock for 35:48 in their 35-21 Christmas Day loss on the Tundra last season. Despite last week's loss, the Packers rarely lose at Lambeau Field, going 21-4 SU and 17-7-1 ATS (71%) on their home field since 2009. This trend also holds true in this series, as Green Bay is 7-2 (SU and ATS) against the Bears since 2008 when Aaron Rodgers took over the starting QB job.
Bears QB Jay Cutler is just 1-6 all-time versus Green Bay, throwing 7 TD's and 12 INT's. However, he is coming off a fine game against the Colts, completing 21-of-35 passes for 333 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT. His favorite receiver was reunited teammate Brandon Marshall who thrived in his Chicago debut with nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Rookie WR Alshon Jeffery also scored in his NFL debut, gaining 80 yards through the air on just three catches. The Bears also rushed for a solid 114 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Forte gained 120 total yards (80 rushing, 40 receiving) while Michael Bush ran for 42 yards and two scores in his first game in a Chicago uniform. The Bears had the ball for 35:28, but the defense still allowed the Colts to amass 356 total yards. However, Chicago did force five turnovers, including picking off Andrew Luck three times. The likely return of CB Charles Tillman (leg injury) will certainly help this secondary.
Despite the Week 1 home loss, Rodgers had a pretty strong performance with 303 yards passing on 30-of-44 completions. He tossed two touchdowns and one interception, while targeting five different receivers at least six times each. The Packers were dominated in the running game during the loss, as San Francisco chewed up 186 yards on the ground compared to just 45 for Green Bay. Newcomer Cedric Benson mustered just 18 yards on nine carries. Defensively, the Packers will look to put pressure on Cutler with star OLB Clay Matthews, who tallied 2½ sacks in Week 1. Although Chicago has kick-return king Devin Hester, the Packers are also in great shape in their return game with Randall Cobb who ran back a punt 75 yards for a touchdown and finished the game with 230 all-purpose yards (80 punt return, 77 receiving and 73 kick return).