MNF - Bears at Packers
November 3, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
The two oldest rivals in the NFL meet up on Monday night even though the two teams are going in different directions. The Packers are rolling with four straight wins to sit atop the NFC North at 5-2, while the Bears have dropped three of four since a 3-0 start, as Chicago turns to a journeyman quarterback to grab the upset at Lambeau Field.
Jay Cutler suffered a groin injury prior to the bye week in a 45-41 defeat at Washington, a familiar setback for this Chicago franchise. Cutler broke his right thumb in 2011 making a tackle on an interception against San Diego after the Bears began the season at 7-3, but the team finished at 8-8. Now, the Bears need to turn to Josh McCown, who is making his first start since 2011 when he led Chicago to a season-ending victory at Detroit.
The Bears received long touchdowns from Devin Hester and Matt Forte to offset Cutler's absence, while McCown threw for 204 yards and a touchdown in the loss at Washington. McCown had an opportunity to give the Bears the lead late, but he was sacked to end the game, while the Chicago defense allowed 499 yards to the Redskins and gave up over 40 points for the second straight road game.
The Packers are back on the winning track after rolling the Vikings last Sunday night, 44-31 to cash outright as 7 ½-point road favorites. Aaron Rodgers put together an efficient 24-of-29 throwing, while tossing a pair of touchdown passes to Jordy Nelson. Green Bay's defense stepped up by limiting Minnesota to 243 yards, while picking up its 14th divisional win in 15 tries.
This series has been owned by Green Bay recently, as the Packers have won six straight meetings with the Bears. One of those victories came in the 2010 NFC Championship at Soldier Field, but the domination has come in Wisconsin. Mike McCarthy's club has won five straight home matchups with the Bears since 2008, while covering four times in this span. Last season, the Packers cruised past the Bears at Lambeau Field, 23-10 to cash as five-point favorites, as the Green Bay defense intercepted Cutler four times.
Since the start of 2011, Green Bay has covered eight of 13 times as a double-digit favorite, including an 8-2 ATS record at Lambeau Field. The Bears have struggled when receiving at least 10 points since 2009, posting a 1-3 ATS record, even though the lone cover came in the regular season finale of 2010 in a 10-3 defeat at Green Bay as 11-point 'dogs.
From a totals perspective, nine of the last 10 meetings between these rivals have finished 'under' the total. Chicago has turned into one of the top 'over' plays in the league this season, going 'over' in six of seven games, but went 'under' in the only contest with a closing number above 50 against New Orleans in Week 5. Green Bay began the season with three consecutive 'overs,' but the Packers have hit the 'under' in three of the past four contests.
The Packers are listed as 10 ½-point favorites, while the total is set at 50 ½. The game kicks off at 8:30 PM EST from Lambeau Field and can be seen on ESPN.
Week 11 Look-ahead:
Only two games take place between teams that are both above .500 and both involve NFC teams. The red-hot Panthers travel to San Francisco to battle the rested 49ers, while the Cowboys head to New Orleans for a showdown with the 6-2 Saints. All of the sudden, the NFC South race has become interesting with New Orleans owning just a one-game lead over Carolina through eight games.
Four contests involve division foes, but the biggest matchup happens in Southern California. The Broncos come off the bye to take on the Chargers, who lost in overtime at Washington to fall to 4-4. Denver can gain a half-game on idle Kansas City, as the Broncos have won three of their past four visits to Qualcomm Stadium.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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