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John J. Raspanti
The Bears and the Packers reignite their rivalry in a special Thursday night game at Lambeau field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers have won the last four meetings between the teams (Bears still hold an overall edge 92-86) including a 27-17 thrashing in 2011. (NFC championship game) The Packers are -5.5 point favorites at 5 Dimes sportsbook with a total of 51.5
The Bears jumped all over the lowly Colts last weekend, but not before falling behind early. Their offense line, always an issue in Chicagoland, looked shaky. Jay Cutler missed on 11 of his first 12 passes, but still ended the game completing 21 of 35 for 333 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Matt Forte was in midseason form. He rushed for 80 yards and caught three passes out of the backfield. Free agent running Michael Bush added 42 yards and two scores.
Brandon Marshall's Chicago career got off to a rollicking good start. The former Dolphin caught nine passes for 119 yards. His size and strength give the Bears something they'd never had. Rookie wideout Alshon Jeffrey and Cutler hooked for a beautiful 42-yard touchdown late in the game.
The Packers looked shell-shocked after the San Francisco 49ers waltzed into Green Bay and beat them 30-22. Aaron Rodgers completed 30-44 passes for over 300 yards, but it wasn't enough. Former Bear and new running back Cedric Benson could muster only 18 yards on the ground. Credit has to be given to the stingy 49er defense. Wide receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb caught 13 passes between them for over a 150 yards. Jordy Nelson grabbed five passes for 68 yards.
Brian Urlacher is the glue that holds the Bear defense together. His surgically repaired knee survived the Colts game. Coach Lovie Smith wisely removed the future Hall of Famer after halftime. Julius Peppers chipped in with three tackles and a fumble recovery. Defensive end Henry Melton collected two sacks. Cornerback Tim Jennings snagged two interceptions after replacing an injured Charles Tillman.
The Packer defense was outplayed by the 49er offense. Quarterback Alex Smith played well, completing 20 of 26 passes (QB rating 125) Running back Frank Gore sliced and diced his way to 112 yards. Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews played extremely well. Hawk lead the team with 14 tackles, while Matthews sacked Smith twice. Cornerback Charles Woodson also had a good game, sacking Smith as well.
The Bears offense is explosive. Jay Cutler loves his new toys. The defense is another story. The Pack will be extra fired up. There's no way they want to lose two games in a row to start the season. Short week of prep should have more of an impact on the visiting Bears here. Pack should get the win here which means the cover is likely to follow. Packers -5.5
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