Entering week four of the NFL season, the NFC North has a three way tie for first place, with Minnesota, Detroit and Green Bay all 2-1 at the top. Chicago is just a game behind, currently 1-2 after getting their first victory of the season on Sunday.
While Green Bay is expected to win the NFC North, it is certainly not a foregone conclusion. Detroit and Minnesota have both looked strong to start the year, and Green Bay has shown weaknesses defensively, as well as in pass protection. With a quick turnaround this week and injuries already piling up, the Packers could struggle a bit more on Thursday than the average football fan would anticipate.
Both teams are coming off overtime victories at home, but Green Bay was expected to beat the Bengals a bit more handily than they did, and Chicago was not supposed to beat the Steelers in the first place. Perhaps the football realm is a little bit too confident in the Packers, and underestimates the Bears.
Chicago struggled in their first road test getting demolished by the Buccaneers, but have looked strong in both games at home. After a heartbreaking week one loss to the Falcons the Bears came out and pushed the Steelers to their limits. Allowing just 17 points to an offense with weapons like Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant is no joke, and Chicago will look to bring their strong defensive play with them on the road this time. They certainly will need it if they want to slow down Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau.
In his career, Aaron Rodgers is 15-4 against the Bears, and he looked like the MVP as he directed the come from behind win over the Bengals. Number twelve will put points on the board, but after a shaky performance from the offensive line against Cincinnati, things could get interesting in Green Bay again this week. Having just four days to prepare and get healthy makes it very likely the Packers will not be playing at full strength once again come kickoff.
With Rodgers at the helm, there is no real reason to believe Green Bay will not beat Chicago at home, but don’t be surprised if the game stays tightly contested from start to finish… after all, it is one of the NFL’s oldest rivalries.