Between The Ears

Matchups Week 2: Bears vs. Packers

Bears vs. Packers

Sunday Night Football: Chicago Bears (1-0) vs. Green Bay Packers (0-1)

Spread: Packers -10.

Game Total: 43.

Team Totals: Packers (26.5), Bears (16.5)

Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Packers -10.
  • This line has moved slightly down to Packers -9.5 as of Friday.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Packers -9.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Packers -10.
  • This total opened at 43-points.
  • This total has moved down to 41.5 points as of Friday.

Notable Injuries

Packers: WR Allen Lazard (Questionable), LT David Bakhtiari (Questionable), LG Jon Runyan (Questionable), RT Elgton Jenkins (Questionable).

Bears: WR Velus Jones (Doubtful).

The Packers Offense vs. the Bears Defense

We have to keep an eye on the injury report, as Green Bay has three starting offensive linemen on it. As of Friday, RT Elgton Jenkins looks like he’ll play, but there is more uncertainty about LG Jon Runyan and T David Bakhtiari. At full strength, Green Bay has an edge in the trenches against Chicago. That edge disappears if the Packers are down multiple starters again like they were in Minnesota.

Reigning back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers is supported by an excellent running back duo in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. But the Packers wide receiver room is filled with a mix of rookies and average veteran talent. Our Nic Bodiford does a very deep dive on Green Bay’s opening-day wide receiver deployments. Green Bay’s offense struggled mightily on opening day in Minnesota. We can reasonably expect the Packers to make significant changes this week. Whether it’s through a prop or in showdown lineups, I’ll be betting in some fashion on Aaron Jones being more involved this week than he was on opening day.

Notes and Observations

  • The Packers are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Packers are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 22-5 against the Bears in the regular season.
  • Per The Edge, Rodgers was 13th in play-action pass percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Rodgers was 28th in air yards per attempt in Week 1.
  • Rodgers was sacked four times in Minnesota last week while completing just 16.7% of his passes when pressured.
  • In sloppy field conditions, the Bears pass rush exceeded expectations against the 49ers, putting up a 38.2% pressure rate, good for eighth best on opening day.
  • The Bears surrendered the ninth fewest rushing yards and the fourth-fewest receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Chicago allowed the tenth fewest receiving yards on the fifth fewest receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Bears gave up the ninth fewest yards on the seventh fewest receptions to tight ends last week.

The Bears Offense vs. the Packers Defense

The Packers have a significant trench advantage against the Bears this Sunday night. In this phase, Chicago faced a similar uphill battle last week against the 49ers. That disadvantage showed up big time in the run game for Chicago. The Bears ran for 99 yards on 37 carries for a 2.7 yards per carry average last week. Chicago is in a similar position here.

Notes and Observations

  • The Bears are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Bears are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Justin Fields was tenth in play-action pass percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Fields was third in air yards per attempt in Week 1.
  • Despite brutal conditions on opening day, Chicago’s new coaching staff was more aggressive with Fields than expected.
  • The Packers allowed the ninth most rushing yards and the 11th fewest receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • Green Bay surrendered the third most receiving yards on the eighth most receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • That wide receiver production was primarily driven by Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who went 9-184-2 on 10 targets last week.
  • The Packers allowed the eighth fewest receiving yards on the 13th fewest receptions to tight ends last week.

This is What You’re Betting On in Bears vs. Packers

A bet on the Packers is a bet on the reigning MVP in an obvious correction spot against a division rival in Chicago that he has consistently traumatized for over a decade. If the Packers offensive line returns to full strength, Green Bay could have a significant trench advantage on both sides of the ball in this matchup. The biggest downside on a Packers bet here is that Green Bay has one of the weaker groups of pass catchers in the sport. Rodgers is one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, but he has been poorly supported in that aspect this offseason.

A bet on the Bears is a bet on a rebuilding team exceeding expectations against a superior opponent two weeks in a row. Last year when these two teams squared off on Sunday night, Chicago came out hot and ran out to a significant lead. Justin Fields’ offense played very well in that matchup, and Chicago even returned a punt for a touchdown in that contest. But it wasn’t enough because Aaron Rodgers came storming back, ultimately leading his Packers to a 45-30 win. Over the past decade-plus, the Bears defense has limited Rodgers’ offense many times, but even in those contests, Rodgers usually makes plays when it matters most. A bet on the Bears in this spot is a bet against Aaron Rodgers. 

Bears vs. Packers Pool Picks

Winner/ Confidence Pool: Green Bay will be a near-universal selection in winner pools. I expect to have the Packers in my top two in confidence pool rankings.

Spread Pool: I will consider taking Green Bay here if their offensive line is ready to go, even though 9.5 points is a lot this early in the season.

Survivor: I will take Green Bay in at least one of my survivor pools. If you’re considering the Packers as a survivor pool option, I analyzed future insertion points for the Packers and many other teams.

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