Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers -8.0 (-110)
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
October 20, 2016, 5:25PM PDT
Our primary power rankings factors give Green Bay a 9-10 point advantage at home facing Chicago Thursday night. In light of our struggles over the last two weeks though, perhaps our readers will find it more compelling that each of the three supplemental computer simulation programs we survey likewise call for the home cover. Unanimity among all indicators on our roster is a rare -- and profitable -- phenomenon. Following the Saints win versus the Panthers last week, such 'full house' signals are 7-1 versus the number this season.
In the face of our Thursday Night Football pick, Brian Hoyer's performance in Jay Cutler's stead has been rather superlative. Hoyer ranks fifth in the NFL at the QB position by Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement, fourth by Defense-adjusted Value Over Average and seventh by Passer Rating. In fact, by this latter measure, Hoyer has surpassed the Packers' acclaimed field general, Aaron Rodgers -- at least temporarily (see below). Importantly though, Chicago dropped the two games with Hoyer under Center, straight up and versus the number, suggesting the Bears problems extend beyond the QB position.
One issue for Chicago is the singularity of their offense. As a percentage of offensive plays, the Bears throw more than all NFL teams -- save the New Orleans Saints. We expect Green Bay's defense, which ranks seventh overall by Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, to clamp down on Chicago's lopsided attack. The Packers specialty on D is guarding the run, so look for the Bears 24th ranked ground game to continue to sputter Thursday. Accordingly, Hoyer will likely need to try to play the role of hero and shoulder the lion's share of the burden for Chicago's offensive productivity. Our sim work does not expect this effort to end well, as we foresee a touchdown/turnover ratio of about 1:1 for the Bears' quarterback.
Our computer simulation work also anticipates a productive evening for Green Bay RB, Eddie Lacy. Look for Lacy to record 100+ rushing yards and a touchdown en route to the Green Bay win and cover.
Betting trends too are consistent with our pro-Packers outlook. The Cheeseheads have covered versus the Bears in nine of the last 11 head-to-head meetings, including a 3-1 stretch in Green Bay. The Packers are also 6-3-1 in their last ten out following a losing effort, and 3-2 in their last five Thursday Night Football appearances. On the other hand, Chicago is 1-5 overall and 0-3 ATS on the road this season. Further, the Bears are 5-10 against NFC teams since last year and 1-4 in their last five Thursday games.