Line: Packers -11

The Bears head into this game in as close as you can get to a “must win” in week 9. With both Detroit and Green Bay coming off of victories last Sunday, regardless of their injury situation, cannot afford to lose the next two games and bury themselves in the division. It is highly likely that on one of the wild card teams will be coming out of the NFC West (Seattle or San Francisco) so there will be only one wild card left up for grabs. It is highly unlikely that they will be able to make the playoffs if they were to lose this weekend and again next weekend with a tough matchup in Detroit. The Packers find themselves at 5-2 and are thriving on offense despite the absence of James Jones and Randall Cobb from the receiving core and Tight End Jermichael Finley at the Tight End position. This shows the mastery of Aaron Rodgers and how amazing he truly is at quarterback. This leads to an interesting matchup on Sunday.

The Bears certainly looked like a playoff team for most of the season with Jay Cutler at quarterback. For the first time in his career he was limiting his interceptions and generally playing more under control. He had developed chemistry with new tight end Martelus Bennett and continued the tremendous chemistry with star receiver Brandon Marshall. It is likely that with new quarterback Josh McCown the game plan will rely much more on running back Matt Forte and his ability to make plays on the ground and in the short passing game. If he can help establish a ground attack that will help McCown in the passing game, especially with the play action pass. McCown has shown to be an accurate passer and if they can create lanes for him to throw as well as protect the pocket he is more than capable of guiding his team down the field. Defensively the Bears have always benefitted greatly from turnovers and this year is no different. In each of the oast 2 losses, Chicago has generated one turnover or fewer. However in each of the 4 wins the team as created at least 3. When they have finished on either the minus side or even in the turnover battle they have lost their last 4 games. So it will be crucial that McCown and the rest of the offense does not turn the ball over and that the defense creates a few turnovers.

The Packers are a team that exemplifies the motto “next man up”. When starting running back Eddie Lacy went down backup James Starks ran for over 140 yards in 1 game. Now lacy has returned and is becoming the workhorse back they envisioned when they signed him. He had 29 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown last week, while Starks had 7 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. Jordy Nelson decided that he would replace Jones and Cobb by himself last week with 7 catches for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jarrett Boykin also stepped up big with 5 catches for 89 yards.

Pick: Bears +11

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