Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM
The first time the Bears and Packers met this year, it was visiting Green Bay whose season was supposedly on the line after a 1-2 start. Now, Chicago’s season is definitely on the line because that first meeting was a double-turnaround that launched Green Bay to greatness while blowing the Windy City’s heroes way off course.
Green Bay has won four of its last five games, and will be positioned to be a force in the postseason if they can extend that run Sunday Night and keep things rolling. Chicago has floundered so badly that fans are now calling for the heads of either quarterback Jay Cutler or second-year head coach Marc Trestman. Things can change so quickly in the NFL!
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about this classic rivalry renewal that all of you will be watching on NBC…
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Chicago: 3-5 (#8 schedule in USA Today)
Green Bay: 5-3 (#11 schedule in USA Today)
The Bears have been hurt by facing a tough schedule. But, they were supposed to win home games vs. Buffalo and Miami from the weaker AFC and couldn’t get the job done. Green Bay has the better record against a comparable slate, and won the first meeting between the two handily at Soldier Field. The Packers are clearly the better team. Should they be laying a touchdown or a bit higher?
Chicago: 5.6 on offense, 6.0 on defense
Green Bay: 5.9 on offense, 5.5 on defense
Chicago’s defense is still a problem, as you have to be really bad to clock in around 6.0 in the NFL. This is their second straight year in this range under Trestman. It’s amazing how quickly an offensive braintrust can ruin a top defense! The Packers have improved in this stat from last year, which gives them a place on the short list of potential NFC champions. This isn’t a “great” team by any means. But, a +0.4 YPP differential against a decent schedule earns respect in a season where nobody in the NFC is really stepping up statistically.
Green Bay: +8
Big difference here…and the clearest way that Green Bay justifies its high price. Jay Cutler is mistake prone…particularly when everyone NEEDS him to step up! That’s why his time in Chicago has been so frustrating for fans. Aaron Rodgers is a veteran who does a better job in the risk/reward scenario. Game One was a blowout because only one team was making mistakes.
Green Bay: 4-3-1
Chicago was a “sharp” team early in the season because the Wise Guys had high expectations. That and general public support for the Bears has created lines that have been too high to cover. Green Bay has been a money team since a slow start. But, they were lucky to get the money at Miami. And, the line seems to have caught up to how well they’ve played since Aaron Rodgers told fans to “relax” after their slow start.
Current Line: Green Bay by 7.5, total of 53
During the week, the line moved back and forth between Green Bay -7 and Chicago +7.5. Wise Guy groups liking a particular side are coming in on their preferred number. It will be interesting to see how the public bets on game day. They'll have all day to put money down on this prime time affair.
JIM HURLEY had this game circled since the first meeting…but it may not be for the reasons you were thinking! There’s a good chance Bears/Packers will show up as part of the Sunday ticket. You can purchase the final word before the games kickoff right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 before the first Sunday kicks.
Back with you tomorrow to preview this week’s Monday Night game. Here’s a look at the next several days of NOTEBOOK highlights…
Monday: NFL Preview…Carolina at Philadelphia Monday Night on ESPN
Tuesday: NBA Preview…San Antonio at Golden State
Wednesday: NBA Preview…Houston at Minnesota from Mexico City on ESPN
Thursday: NFL Preview…Buffalo at Miami on the NFL Network
Friday: College Preview…Mississippi State at Alabama on CBS
Saturday: College Preview…Florida State at Miami in ABC
Bears/Packers is one of the NFL’s great historic rivalries. You already know that the biggest rivalry in sports is JIM HURLEY vs. the Vegas Sportsbooks. NETWORK will get the best of it again in the NFL…which means you’ll GET THE MONEY!
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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
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