Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stickin' It to Vegas -- Week 2's Thursday Night Games

I took it on the chin in Week 1.  I will have the straight ups and spread picks updated on Sunday when I have more time.  Here's a look at tonight's game:

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-6.5)

What to look for:  

- The Chicago Bears had their way with a weak Colts defense last Sunday.  Jay Cutler connected to Brandon Marshall at will and was able to hit his receivers at all levels of the field.  20 yard completions came naturally.  The Matt Forte / Michael Bush combo was a force.  The defensive line forced Andrew Luck to repeatedly adjust in the pocket.

I expect Cutler to be able to move the ball easily against the Packers mediocre defense.  The Green Bay defensive backfield let Alex Smith have his way with them, as the corners played too far off their men.  A great neutralizer is Clay Matthews's pass rushing ability.  Facing a weak offensive line, he should have his way with J'Marcus Webb.  This could inhibit a few of Cutler's intermediate and deep passing chances.

- Green Bay had an off week, and Aaron Rodgers surprisingly had little success with the deep throws he normally hits.  While the Bears have a solid defense, they are not in San Francisco's echelon, and I don't know if it is even close.  The Packers running game was absolutely shut down last week, but it had more to do with the 49ers than with Cedric Benson.

Even without Greg Jennings, look for Aaron Rodgers to have his way with this defense.  That being said, Jay Cutler will go toe-to-toe with him until the end of the game.  I predict Cutler will make a costly late turnover as he tries to sneak a ball in there that he shouldn't.  I like a bounce-back effort from the Packers and a victory, but I'm taking the Bears with the points here.

Prediction:  Packers 27, Bears 24

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