In 2011, the Green Bay Packers didn’t lose their first game until Dec. 18. In 2012, it took one week.
If the Packers lose at home to the Chicago Bears to start the season 0-2, statistics say they’d have only a 13 percent chance of making the playoffs, and you can be sure that panic would set in among the Cheeseheads.
What follows is a breakdown of the point spread for the game, with news, notes, quotes and anecdotes to help you make your bets.
Keep in mind: The “edge” is merely a suggestion, and not something we necessarily recommend playing.
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BEARS AT PACKERS, 8:20 P.M. ET
OPENING POINT SPREAD: Green Bay -6.5 | CURRENT: Green Bay -5 | OVER/UNDER: 51.5 | TV: NFL
SUMMARY: After starting last season 13-0, Green Bay has actually lost three of its past five games, leading some to believe that this team’s flaws—shaky pass defense, zero rushing attack—are starting to reveal themselves. Public percentages say bettors are currently split 50-50 right down the middle on this one, indicating that it’s a very accurate point spread. The Packers covered both games against Chicago last season, including at home as 13-point favorites, but that was against a Bears team that featured neither Jay Cutler nor Brandon Marshall.
STORYLINES: These two teams couldn’t have faced more opposite opponents in their openers, with Chicago thumping rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts in his first career start, while Green Bay struggled with the 49ers, one of the top contenders in the NFC.
Greg Jennings, the Packers’ top receiver, and Charles Tillman, the Bears’ top cover corner, are both questionable for this game, so that matchup could be a wash if they’re either forced to sit or play hurt.
Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher didn’t practice this week, but coach Lovie Smith said he’s “good to go.” He’ll likely be responsible for marking tight end Jermichael Finley, a guy who’s killed the Bears in recent meetings (four touchdowns in two matchups last year).
EDGE: Home teams usually have an edge in the NFL when they’re forced to play on a short week, and that—combined with Green Bay wanting to avoid a two-game hole to their main threat in the NFC North—should give the Packers enough to cover in this one. (But this is far from the most ideal play on the Week 2 NFL card.)