Sunday Night Football: Packers Host the Bears

Bears And Packers

The NFL Oldest Rivalry Kicks off 2018 — Bears Vs. Packers

Lambeau Field has a Week 1 contest on tap for Sunday as the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers play their season openers. The NFL kicks off its 99th season this weekend. What better way to go after than with the NFL’s oldest rivalry?

Oddsmakers opened the Packers as -8-point favorites versus the Bears, while the game’s total opened at 47.5.

Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers became the highest-paid player in NFL history a couple of weeks ago. The Chicago Bears and new meal ticket Khalil Mack will be on the prowl.

Rodgers signed a four-year, $134 million contract extension. His true value was evident last season when he missed nine games due to a broken collarbone. The Packers spiraled to a 7-9 record.

Ready to make Rodgers earn every dime is Mack. He was acquired by Chicago in a blockbuster trade with Oakland and rewarded with the richest contract given to a defensive player. It is a whopping six-year, $141 million extension.

The Bears have finished last in the NFC North four years running. They will also will feature a different look on the other side of the ball as they begin a new era under first-year head coach Matt Nagy.

Rodgers Impact Will be Evident From the Start

The Packers were 7-9 last season and finished 3rd in the NFC North. Rodgers’ impact on Green Bay’s offense cannot be overstated. The two-time NFL MVP started all 16 games from 2014-16. He amassed 109 touchdown passes against only 20 interceptions.

Longtime favorite target Jordie Nelson was let go in the offseason. Rodgers still has plenty of options with returning wideouts Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. They  had140 combined catches in 2017.

The arrival of tight end Jimmy Graham should help as well. He had 10 TD receptions with Seattle last season. Jamaal Williams rushed for a team-high 556 yards last season. He will share the load with Ty Montgomery.

This is while Aaron Jones serves a two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Packers were 26th in points allowed (24.0) and 22nd in total defense. These numbers led to the dismissal of defensive coordinator Dom Capers. The Packers hired Mike Pettine to replace him.

Rodgers had 14 touchdown passes and one interception in his last four home starts versus Chicago.

The Bears Looking to Get Back to Relevancy

The Bears were 5-11 last season and finished 4th in the NFC North. Chicago traded a pair of first-round draft picks in a package to bring in Mack. He was the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Mack has registered double-digit sacks in each of the past three seasons.

The Bears also used a first-round draft pick (No. 8 overall) to select linebacker Roquan Smith out of Georgia. The pick will further bolster a defense that ranked No. 7 against the pass with an average of 211.0 yards in 2017.

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for only 2,193 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games as a rookie last season. He has plenty of new weapons this year. They brought in wide receivers Allen Robinson from Jacksonville and Taylor Gabriel from Atlanta.

Tight end Trey Burton from Philadelphia was added as well. Jordan Howard has rushed for at least 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons. Tarik Cohen provides a dynamic pass-catching threat in the backfield.

Mack, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has 36.5 sacks over the last three seasons.

PREDICTION: Packers 26, Bears 20

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NFL Betting Trends

Chicago Bears:
Team record: 5-11 SU,9-6-1 ATS
Chicago is 2-7 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Chicago’s last 6 games
Chicago is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games on the road

Green Bay Packers:
Team record: 7-9 SU,7-9 ATS
Current Streak: lost 3 straight games.
Green Bay is 3-8 SU in its last 11 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Green Bay’s last 6 games
Green Bay is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home

Next up:
Chicago home to Seattle Monday, September 17
Green Bay home to Minnesota Sunday, September 16

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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