The NFC North is not the most competitive of divisions at the moment. The Green Bay Packers are only a couple of games ahead, but the team behind them, the Chicago Bears, are trending in the opposite direction.
On Sunday night, the Bears and Packers will tangle at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The NBC cameras will be right there for this game, which begins at 8:20 PM ET.
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There is nobody who's been intimidated by Chicago's offense this season. And there isn't much they have been able to generate to keep defenses honest. It is good news that they are slated to have David Montgomery back in the lineup. But even with him around, they've been last in the league in rushing; now they are averaging 78.2 yards a game and 3.6 yards per carry.
The Packers have to be smarting from a come-from-ahead loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week, in which they were almost completely shut down in the second half.
In the odds posted on this game for this NFL preview, the Packers are the solid favorites:
Green Bay Packers -8
Chicago Bears +8
Over 44 Points -110
Under 44 Points -110
Matt Nagy handed the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor for the game against the Los Angeles Rams, and things did not improve all that much, truth be told. Nick Foles had been complaining about not having enough time to execute the plays that were being called by Nagy. But Lazor didn't necessarily do him any favors. And ultimately Foles got shelved with a hip injury. And Chicago had just 149 yards of offense.
The Bears are going to turn to Mitchell Trubisky, who they say is looking very good in practice. According to Nagy, the former starting quarterback has improved while he's been sitting the bench.
Chicago needs SOMETHING to go well. The Bears have lost four games in a row and are on the verge of irrelevance in the division.
Unless Trubisky has undergone a transformation, we wonder what kind of magic pill this offense can possibly take. When you are relatively one-dimensional, it is easier for the other team to defend you, and a so-so defense can become a much more formidable stop unit.
The Packers don't need to play a whole lot of defense to cover big numbers, because they have Aaron Rodgers, who has posted glittering numbers (68%, 29 TD's, four INT's, just 11 sacks).
We can't say the same thing about the Green Bay ground game; Aaron Jones hasn't been an imposing runner since the early stages of the season. And wide receivers have been in and out of the lineup. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has an Achilles injury and will probably not make it. As long as Davante Adams can be part of the whole thing, the receiver corps should be all right. But an ankle injury is bothering Adams.
This is one of those games where the Bears' defense may have to do the heavy lifting. Rodgers did not go wild against Chuck Pagano's coverage scheme last year, throwing for 203 yards in both meetings. And Khalil Mack is always going to be a threatening presence. The Packers win, but do it ugly. Taking the points with CHICAGO.
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