This NFC North showdown promises to be a critical one, as the Bears look to remain undefeated and get a huge win over a rival, while the Packers look to claw their way back to .500 after losing to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.
Let’s take a look at where you can catch this action, a few possible ways to wager on the game, some fantasy players to look out for and a prediction on the final score.
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
When: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8:20 p.m. ET
Watch: NFL Network
Live Stream: NFL.com
Spread: Packers -6 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
Which Team Will Cover?
Lean towards the Bears to cover in this game.
While the Pack are 7-2 against the spread in the past nine meetings, the Bears have steadily improved this offseason and can now be considered equals to GB in the division.
This should be a tightly contested game that could seriously go either way, which is why it would be foolish to leave six points sitting on the table.
While the Bears may not win straight up, they have an awfully good shot at keeping this one within a field goal, so taking the points is the play.
Over/Under: 51.5 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
Go with the under here.
Eight of the past nine matchups have had a final score under the projected total, and there is no reason to think things will change on Thursday.
These teams simply cannot stand one another, which makes for an ugly, drawn-out football game that focuses more on powerful runs and clock-eating short passes.
The total score of this should be well under 50 points.
Key Injuries (via CBSSports.com)
LB Brian Urlacher—Knee—PRB
CB Charles Tillman—Shin—QST
WR Greg Jennings—Groin—QST
RB James Starks—Toe—QST
Fantasy Big Plays
Must Start: Brandon Marshall
Marshall is clearly QB Jay Cutler’s favorite target.
He targeted him 15 times on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, and the receiver rewarded owners with nine catches for 119 yards and a TD.
In every league—especially PPR format—Marshall is a must-start and should continue to produce at a high level.
Must Sit: Greg Jennings
It’s looking less and less likely that Jennings will play in this contest due to a groin injury.
Even if he’s able to get on the field, there is no guarantee that the WR will be healthy due to the short amount of rest.
Look for another option this week, as Aaron Rodgers has too many other targets to throw to.
Keys to Bears Win: Passing Game
The Bears are traditionally a ground-and-pound team that wins on defense, but they finally have a respectable aerial assault capable of running up the score on teams.
Marshall, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery are all capable receivers that can put up solid numbers against a vulnerable Green Bay secondary.
Expect the Bears to take a number of shots down the field and use Cutler’s arm strength to their advantage.
Keys to Packers Win: Defense
If the Packers are going to win this one, they can’t let the Bears jump out to an early lead.
They’ll need to lock down the receivers, contain Matt Forte and Michael Bush in the running game and put pressure on Cutler. Forcing turnovers will be crucial.
Rodgers and the rest of the offense will get points on the board if they have the ball in their hands, which is why the defense must make some plays on Thursday.
Prediction: Bears 24, Packers 21
Chicago will advance to 2-0 and get an early leg up in the NFC North on Thursday.
The Bears have a great offense to go along with a defense that is stocked with veteran experience and talent. They’ll use this to shock the Packers and pull out a surprise victory.