Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Start-time: Friday 21 October, 01:25 BST
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Despite their 3-2 record the Green Bay Packers have been one of the most disappointing teams so far in 2016. Aaron Rodgers has averaged 233.3 yards per game over his last 15 starts, which qualifies for 24th best in the NFL over that time span. This is not what you'd expect from the perennial all-star. He seemed to be getting time in the pocket but his receivers aren't getting open and he's making bad decisions.
Speaking of those receivers, most pundits (myself included) thought Jordy Nelson would be able to just pick up from where he left off after his year out with injury. That hasn't quite been the case - while his yardage numbers have been disappointing (62.4 average per game) he has found the end zone five times and Sunday's loss to Dallas was the first time he hadn't scored a touchdown all season long. The explosive big plays seem to be eluding him but his hands are solid enough.
Green Bay lost Eddie Lacy this week to injury and it is possible that if Knile Davis gets up to speed, he'll play significant snaps in the backfield. He was fourth on the Kansas City depth chart earlier this week and looks set to lead the rushing attack tonight for the Packers.
So while Green Bay have been a disappointment, that comes from a high bar. People were talking of them as Super Bowl contenders but Chicago have won just once all year and conspired to somehow let my stinky Jaguars score 17 points on them in the fourth quarter on Sunday to lose that game. Jay Cutler is out and Brian Hoyer gets the start under Center.
No point beating about the bush here regarding Hoyer but he does have a four game streak of 300+ yards in the air going. Lots of talking heads seem excited about Jordan Howard in the backfield and have Alshon Jeffery who can catch a ball deep. So, while they are not a very good team at all, they have at least some talent on the offensive side of the ball.
If Knile Davis does go then 11/1 for a primary back to get the first TD is a long price so that is very much worth a point. At the same price is the Bears #2 receiver Cameron Meredith and I'll go there.
The line has been set at 45.5pts, which I think is about right. I don't think either team has a dynamic offense but neither are strong defensively either so you can see why the line is where it is. At some point you have to think Rodgers will get it going and when better than a prime-time game against a long-time rival? I'll lean on the overs.
The Spread & Straight-up Pick
The spread is set at Green Bay -7.5pts and despite all my reservations about the quality of the Packers, they have to pick it up surely? The Bears aren't any good. It is a short week and home teams seem to fare disproportionately better in these scenarios. I'll take Green Bay with the 7.5pt handicap but even more than that, I'll push it to the alternative -10.5pt line at 27/20.
3pt Back Green Bay to win with a 10.5pt handicap on the extended line at 27/20 on the Sportsbook
3pt Back over 45.5pts on the extended over/under line at 20/21 on the Sportsbook
3pt Back over 3.5 Field Goals scored at 23/20 on the Sportsbook
3pt Back over 6.5 receptions for Jordy Nelson at Evens on the Sportsbook
3pt Back over 62.5 yards rushing for Jordan Howard at 5/6 on the Sportsbook
3pt Back over 64.5 yards receiving for Cameron Meredith at 5/6 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Knile Davis to score the first TD at 11/1 in the First Touchdown scorer market on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Cameron Meredith to score the first TD at 11/1 in the First Touchdown scorer market on the Sportsbook