Thursday, October 20, 2016

NFL Week 7: Packers vs. Bears Preview and Prediction

Just a few days following a demoralizing 30-16 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers (3-2) will host the archrival Chicago Bears (1-5) this evening. The Pack will tonight be without seven players, including running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks, as well as defensive backs Sam Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. Shields -- who is still in the league's concussion protocol -- was actually placed on injured reserve to open up a roster spot; he could return in Week 14. Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, TE Jared Cook, and S Chris Banjo are also out. Wide receiver Davante Adams is listed as questionable.

As bad as it is for the Packers, Da Bearz' injury report is even longer. We wish we could feel bad about that, but given the current state of affairs in Green Bay, we don't. We'll take all the help we can get even if it's a banged-up opponent. Although, we did so hope Bears QB Jay Cutler could have played. That's always a factor in the Pack's favor.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and the offense
must be in sync to beat Da Bearz tonight.

Photo by Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Given the condition of both teams, it's likely this game could be mediocre at best. Despite how out-of-sync the Packers seemed on Sunday, they need to somehow find the will -- and the ways and plays -- to beat what is arguably one of the worst teams in the league at this stage of the season.

It used to be the case that after a poor personal performance, QB Aaron Rodgers would light up the following week's opponent. But given the 17-game slump that Rodgers seems to be in in terms of personal performance, we're not sure what to count on any longer. Without a sure-fire running attack to take the pressure off him, play at the level we've seen recently would not be unexpected.

The Packers did finally decide to provide some help in this regard with the acquisition via trade Monday (a trade!!!) of Kansas City running back, Knile Davis. While Davis became expendable for the Chiefs, he might at least fill a temporary need for the Packers. Don't expect much tonight, other than perhaps a few basic plays. But the other option was to keep running wide receivers Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb out of the backfield...which, let's just say no solution and, well, a bit nuts, right? The Packers did have one other option, activating practice squad RB Don Jackson to the active roster. For this game, at least, the Pack will try to make it with Davis, et al. (By the way, Milwaukee Journal Packers beat writer extraordinaire, Bob McGinn, has a great article today about Davis; it's highly suggested reading.)

Depending upon your source, the Packers are currently favored by 7-1/2 to 9-1/2 points. We'd like to think that's how things will roll tonight. But are we confident based upon what we've seen so far this season? Not really.

Still, we need to make a prediction. We're calling it 24-13 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!