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Week 4 Preview: Bears at Packers, September 28, 2017

Game Previews

After turning back the clock in a 23-17 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chicago Bears embark on a short turnaround that features a quick road trip up north to face the Green Bay Packers.

It’s an early season matchup that has meaning for both teams in the NFL’s longest running rivalry – just how the schedule-makers drew it up during the offseason.

A Bears win would would go a long way toward proving the team’s win in Week 3 and ability to hang with the defending NFC champions in Week 1 weren’t flukes. But a win by the Packers would launch them back into the conversation of being among the NFL’s elite after losing to the Atlanta Falcons and squeaking by the woeful Cincinnati Bengals.

“Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Chicago Bears (1-2) are 7.5-point home underdogs (with the over/under set at 44.5) against the Green Bay Packers, according to Bovada. Chicago is now 15-19-1 against the spread since the start of 2015.

The Green Bay Packers (2-1) is 1-2 against the spread this year and was 7-5-1 when favored against the line in 2016.

Series History:

The longest running rivalry in the NFL is tied at 94-94-6. Chicago is 1-3 against Green Bay under head coach John Fox and has lost 12 of the last 14 games in this head-to-head matchup.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Lambeau Field

Broadcast Info: 7:25 p.m., NFL Network, CBS, Amazon Prime (Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Zach Zaidman); Westwood One Radio (Kevin Kugler, Mike Holmgren)

Referee: Jeff Hussey

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mike Glennon
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • FB Michael Burton
  • WR Kendall Wright
  • WR Markus Wheaton
  • TE Dion Sims
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Kyle Long
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Josh Sitton
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Mitch Unrein
  • OLB Willie Young
  • ILB Christian Jones
  • ILB Danny Trevathan
  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • CB Marcus Cooper
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos

Bears Specialists: 

  • Connor Barth (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), Deonte Thompson (kick returner), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

Packers Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Aaron Rodgers
  • RB Ty Montgomery
  • FB Aaron Ripkowski
  • WR Jordy Nelson
  • WR Randall Cobb
  • TE Martellus Bennett
  • LT Adam Pankey
  • LG Lane Taylor
  • C Corey Linsley
  • RG Jahri Evans
  • RT Justin McRay

Packers Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Dean Lowry
  • NT Kenny Clark
  • DT Mike Daniels
  • OLB Clay Matthews
  • ILB Jake Ryan
  • ILB Blake Martinez
  • OLB Nick Perry
  • CB Davon House
  • CB Damarious Randall
  • FS Morgan Burnett
  • SS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Packers Specialists:

  • Mason Crosby (kicker), Justin Vogel (punter, holder), Taybor Pepper (long snapper), Jeff Janis(kick returns), Trevor Davis (punt returns)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Bears – Offense

The “Thunder and Lightning” duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen is coming of a week in which they combined to average 6.2 yards per carry on 35 attempts. If that doesn’t constitute as hot, I don’t know what will. Further, the Packers have allowed the 12th most rushing yards and the eighth highest average per carry through three weeks. Taking quarterback Mike Glennon’s inefficiencies as a passer into consideration, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains would be wise to ride the hot hands and fast feet of his stud running backs.

Is this Mike Glennon’s last stand? Perhaps, but a quality performance out of Glennon against the Packers could sway the pendulum in his favor (in the short term). Unfortunately, Glennon has turned the ball over four times (including three interceptions) in the last two games. Between turnover problems and a dink-and-dunk passing style that limits production despite a high volume of attempts, the Green Bay defense will be a popular one to stream this week in fantasy football.

Chicago Bears – Defense

Adrian Amos returns to the starting lineup as he replaces Quintin Demps, who is out indefinitely with a broken arm suffered in Sunday’s win. Amos was a respectable two-year starter at safety for the Bears. Pro Football Focus called Amos a secret superstar because he played a high volume of snaps (938), was flagged just twice, and improved his coverage skills. Amos has been a sure-handed tackler, but lacked the necessary range and coverage skills to be the kind of playmaker the team wants out of its free safety. Hence, Amos lost his starting job to rookie Eddie Jackson during the preseason. How Aaron Rodgers attacks him could be the difference in the game.

Leonard Floyd has played 170 defensive snaps, but has yet to come up with his first sack. Floyd is off to a slow start for a second straight year, though some of the lack of pass rush production can be attributed to the increased percentage of pass coverage snaps he has played in this season. Week 4 could present an opportune time to unleash Floyd as a pass rusher because the Packers are expected to be without their two starting tackles.

Green Bay Packers – Offense

Aaron Rodgers is the obvious target, so we might be better off focusing on his top targets.

From a fantasy perspective, the Bears’ defense is allowing the 14th fewest fantasy points to receivers this season. Jordy Nelson has been a dynamite playmaker in the two games in which he has been completely healthy, hauling in 13 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns against the Seahawks and Bengals. Randall Cobb missed Week 3 with an injury, but was productive (15 catches, 145 yards) in each of his first two games. Cobb has lined up in the slot 85 percent of the time in 2017, meaning he’ll be matched up with Bryce Callahan – who entered Week 3 as the Bears’ highest-graded player by Pro Football Focus’ standards.

Ty Montgomery had the game of his life the last time he saw the Bears. Montgomery, who was making the transition from wide receiver to running back, carried the ball 16 times for 162 yards with three total touchdowns in a 30-27 Packers win. With Green Bay rolling with a banged up line, the team might be wise to try a similar plan of attack against Chicago to start and possibly set up the pass game through play action.

Green Bay Packers – Defense

Clay Matthews has tortured the Bears for the better part of a decade, having picked up 8.5 sacks in 14 career games against Chicago. But believe it or not, Matthews’ production in the sack department ha slowed down in recent years. Matthews has been held without a sack against the Bears in four of the last five showdowns, including no sacks in each of the last four games. Either Matthews is due to break out in a big way against Glennon, or the good times can continue to roll for the Bears’ offensive game planners.

HaHa Clinton-Dix is one of the game’s premier safeties and his name should be as synonymous with “torture” as Matthews’ has been over the years. According to PFF, Clinton-Dix limited opposing quarterbacks to a 61.2 passer rating when he was targeted in 2016. He’s no slouch in the running game either, missing just three tackles last season. What might hurt the most about Clinton-Dix’s rise to stardom in the NFL is that he went seven picks after the Bears chose cornerback Kyle Fuller with the 14th selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Whoops.


Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.