The Chicago Bears have a lot more than pride riding on their Week 10 matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Following a 3-5 start, Chicago can’t afford a loss on “Sunday Night Football” if they hope to make any sort of run to the playoffs this season.
The Bears began 2014 by winning two of their first three games, but the season took a turn for the worse when they hosted Green Bay. Chicago suffered a 21-point loss, and began a stretch of five games that saw them only win once.
The story in Chicago’s Week 4 loss was one that fans of the team are all too familiar with: Aaron Rodgers outplayed Jay Cutler. For the 10th time in his career, the Packers quarterback bested his NFC North foes. Cutler fell to Green Bay for the ninth time in 10 tries.
Rodgers was nearly perfect against Chicago, completing 22 of 28 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns. The Bears couldn’t stop the quarterback, but few teams this year have been able to contain the 30-year-old. Rodgers’ 151.2 passer rating wasn’t even his best of the season, and he threw an interception in Week 8 for the first time since the season opener.
No longer do the Bears sport one of the most feared defenses in the NFL. Since losing to Green Bay, Chicago has let quarterbacks put up impressive numbers, and they’ve allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a 101.2 passer rating. The Bears were at their worst the last time they stepped on the field, allowing Tom Brady to complete just under 86 percent of his passes for 354 yards and five scores.
If Chicago is looking for Cutler to keep pace with Rodgers in order to pull off the upset, history has proven that such a performance isn’t likely from the quarterback. He threw his 18th and 19th career interceptions against Green Bay in their last meeting, compared to just 13 touchdowns against the divisional rivals.
A win for the Bears might have to come as a result of a dominant running game. Green Bay allows more yards on the ground per game than any other NFL team, a key reason for their losses was an inability to stop the run.
In the opener, the Packers gave up 207 rushing yards to the Seattle Seahawks, and Green Bay allowed the New Orleans Saints to run for 193 yards in their last loss. Quarterback Matthew Stafford played poorly when Detroit beat Green Bay, but the Lions controlled the clock and ran for 115 yards.
The Packers are seven-point favorites at home, and the over/under of 53.5 points is the highest total on the Week 10 schedule. Green Bay is averaging 33.6 points over their last five games. Chicago has allowed an average of 32 points in their last five contests.
PREDICTION: Green Bay 0ver Chicago, 31-20