The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will meet during Week 15 of the 2012-13 NFL season on December 16, 2012. The game will be played at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. These are some picks against the spread for that contest.
The Bears have an 8-5 record. They’ve lost four of their last five games. The Packers have a 9-4 record. They’ve won seven of their last eight games. Since January 2011, the Packers have won the last five meetings. That includes the 2010-11 NFC Championship. It also includes a 23-10 win in Week 2 of this season.
The early spread is Packers (-3). The over-under total is 43. As of December 12, all odds are from Yahoo! Sports.
Week 14 Results
Detroit Lions 20 at Green Bay Packers 27
Chicago Bears 14 at Minnesota Vikings 21
Key Injuries: Green Bay Packers (As of December 12)
DB Charles Woodson (Out), LG T.J. Lang, DL C.J. Wilson, DL Mike Neal, LB Clay Matthews (Probable)
Key Injuries: Chicago Bears (As of December 12)
LB Brian Urlacher (Out), QB Jay Cutler (Probable), CB Tim Jennings, WR Earl Bennett, DL Henry Melton, K Robbie Gould (IR)
Keys To The Game
Packers’ Improved Ground Game vs. Bears’ Run-Defense (without Brian Urlacher)
Mike Tice: Calling a Conservative Game (Use Matt Forte!)
Tramon Williams vs. Brandon Marshall
Jay Cutler: Take a Sack; No Interceptions
Jermichael Finley vs. Bears’ Cover 2 Defense
Field Position: Mason Crosby from 50-Plus Yards? Olindo Mare?
Red Zone Defense: 3s, not 7s
Weather, Field Conditions
What’s at stake in this NFC North rivalry? If the Packers win, they’ll clinch the NFC North title for the second straight season. If the Bears win, they’ll have a chance to host a wild-card game. And for anyone who thinks that Lovie Smith is on the hot seat, a win would all-but-guarantee him at least one more season.
Cutler doesn’t play well against the Packers. For his career, Cutler has completed 130-of-236 passes (55.1 percent) for 1,567 yards with eight touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He has had two four-interception games against them. Both games were played at Lambeau Field (this game is at Soldier Field).
Both teams have injuries. While Clay Matthews will return from a hamstring injury, Charles Woodson has been ruled out with a broken collarbone. Brian Urlacher will miss this game with his own hamstring injury. That’s a huge blow because Urlacher is responsible for many of the defense’s communications. They can’t afford communication errors when they’re facing Aaron Rodgers.
Packers tight end Jermichael Finley believes that Urlacher’s injury will help the defense. Finley reportedly made the following comment to Fox Sports Wisconsin.
“Urlacher is at the end of his career right now; he’s playing a little slow out there. I don’t think they’re losing too much if he’s out. Putting another guy in might help them a little.”
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has enjoyed a historical season. But don’t ignore Brandon Marshall. Marshall has 101 receptions for 1,342 yards and nine touchdowns. Marshall has at least nine receptions and 92 yards in five of his last six games. The one game where he didn’t? Jason Campbell was the quarterback. When these teams met in Week 2, Marshall had two catches for 24 yards.
Mike Tice must understand this situation. Even when Mike Martz was offensive coordinator, this team often abandons Matt Forte. That can’t happen here. The offensive line doesn’t pass-protect well enough to allow Cutler to throw 35-plus times. Dom Capers wants Cutler to throw the football to the Packers’ defensive backs. Or linebackers. Or B.J. Raji would do.
How can the Bears win? Eliminate the turnovers. That means taking the football out of Cutler’s hands as much as possible. And while this defense will surrender plenty of yards, it doesn’t mean much if those drives end as 3s instead of 7s. Not shutdown defense, but bend-but-don’t-break defense. A little magic from Devin Hester would help.
Or maybe the Bears will do what they’ve done all season when they play good teams: lose.
Lovie Smith has a 19-38 record against teams who are above .500. It doesn’t surprise me. Smith doesn’t adjust against different opponents. When this offense faces a defense with great pass-rushers (San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, and Clay Matthews), Cutler takes hit after hit. They don’t use their running game to keep defense’s honest.
With a smart game plan, the Bears can win. With that said, I’m expecting the same stubbornness from the Bears’ coaching staff. Could the Packers win the division and make a statement at the same time?
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Chicago Bears: The Pick
Against The Spread: Green Bay Packers (-3)
Straight: Green Bay Packers 31, Chicago Bears 14
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. From 2009-10, Huffman completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. He has been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. Twitter HERE.
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