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NFL Green Bay at Chicago Free Pick

September 7, 2023
Justine Fields takes on Packers week 1

It’s a new season in the NFL, and a new era in the NFC Central. The Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers late Sunday afternoon in the 207th meeting between these hated rivals. Green Bay leads the NFL’s oldest rivalry, 105-95-6, having lost just thrice in the last 20.

Why did the Pack dominate the Bears? Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Of course, there’s neither a Hall of Fame or eventual-Hall of Fame quarterback leading the way now. Green Bay, 8-9 in 2022, didn’t make the postseason a year ago. That hadn’t happened since 2018.

Chicago finished the 2022 NFL season with the worst record in the league at 3-14, but was better than that. Chicago is eyeing a turnaround this season, perhaps with a shot to make the postseason.

It’s the Bears as tepid one-point favorites (total at 43), according to NFL odds.

Green Bay is priced at 15-4 (+375) to win the NFC Central, while the Bears are longest shots at 4-1 (+400), as per NFL division odds.

 

Chicago Bear-ly Favored 

It’s been quite some time since the Chicago Bears were favored to beat the Green Bay Packers, even by this slim margin. If you believe the internet (who doesn’t?), Green Bay has been listed as the choice in 25 of the last 28 meetings dating to 2009.

Moneyline is negative both ways, Green Bay priced at -105, Chicago Bears at -115.

 

Packers in Love

It’s no longer Aaron Rodgers leading the way in Green Bay. Rodgers departed the Pack, resurfacing (only after much introspection) with the New York Jets.

It will now be Jordan Love at quarterback. He hasn’t really proven anything at the NFL level (career 50-of-83, 606 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions), but the front office has finally given him the keys. It’s not likely he’ll struggle in a big way this season, but don’t expect him to guide the Pack into the postseason, either.

Running back Aaron Jones (1,121 rush yards in 2022) and the Green Bay defense are going to have to stand out in this game as well as this season. Chicago’s worst-in-the-league defense in 2022 (27.2 points per game allowed) is something the Pack will need to exploit.

Green Bay will have to find a way to keep Bears’ quarterback Justin Fields (2,242 passing yards, 1,143 rush yards in 2022) in or near the pocket.

 

They Were Monsters

Chicago was once “Monsters of the Midway,” but those days are no longer. As was mentioned, defense didn’t get the memo last season. While the offense has been receiving plenty of hype this offseason, that’s not going to be the unit deciding this game. 

Chicago didn’t generate any pressure on opposing quarterbacks last season, and can’t afford Love time to operate. Expect the Bears to be aggressive, crowding the box to stop Jones and force Love to try and win this game through the air.Wide receiver D.J. Moore had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (2019-2021) with the Carolina Panthers. He was brought in to be the top target with the Bears.

 

It’s Da Bears

The Chicago Bears have a golden opportunity to win this game, making an early-season statement in the division. They can’t afford to blow it. Green Bay. which has “owned” the Bears over the last two decades, has an unknown and untested quantity at quarterback. 

Jordan Love is going to struggle sporadically, and the Bears’ defense will create the needed separation in this one. Meanwhile, Justin Fields has the arm and legs to make the Pack pay.

Bet the Chicago Bears -1 as they protect home (Soldier) field with a win to begin the season.

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