Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

Prediction: CHI 20, GB 31 (Line: GB by 6)

Players to watch: Michael Bush, Randall Cobb, Cedric Benson

Updated Players: Greg Jennings, James Jones

The Bears come off a major thumping of the Colts but that was to be expected. The Packers remain at home after allowing the 49ers to visit with a defense that was actually bigger than the Packers offense. The Packers swept the Bears last season, winning 27-17 in Chicago and later 35-21 in Green Bay. The Packers need this win to get back on track but the Bears won't make it easy with an offense that looks improved.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU -----
2 @GB ----- 11 @SF -----
3 STL ----- 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL ----- 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC ----- 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET ----- 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR ----- 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI @ GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 260,2
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 30 3-20
WR Alshon Jeffery 5-80,1
WR Eddie Royal 2-20
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Opening up the season against the worst team from the previous year can give an unrealistic view of how good you are. But the Bears were hitting on all cylinders and losing the Mike Martz scheme seemed to really do the trick. Where once Jay Cutler was running around throwing to a never-ending cast of receivers, the offense was much more traditional. In fantasy terms, instead of having five or six guys with very mediocre to no fantasy value now there are only a couple but they are really producing.

Cutler ended with 333 yards and two scores against the Colts that was split between Brandon Marshall and everyone else. Marshall had 15 targets and nine receptions for 119 yards and one score. It was a throwback to the pitch and catch days back in Denver. No other receiver or tight end mattered other than the rookie Alshon Jeffrey who took five passes and caught three with 80 yards and a score. Only having to worry about two receivers for fantasy purposes? Nirvana.

The rest of the receivers were even worse than when Martz was still calling plays. Granted - one week at home against the worst team from the previous year hardly proves a major turnaround but then again - it looked every bit as good as you could hope.

Cutler passed for 302 yards and two scores at home against the Packers and later settled for 242 yards and one touchdown in Green Bay.

Matt Forte looked like he was in mid-season form with 16 runs for 80 yards (5.0 YPC) and one touchdown with three receptions gaining 40 more yards. What is troubling - especially for future games where the Bears may not have 28 carries to split up - is that Michael Bush has a significant role. He was given 12 runs and he gained 42 yards with two touchdowns. Both scores were in the first half from the one-yard line. Forte's score game from six yards out. Bush had no role as a receiver which may be a saving grace for Forte. But he was there for the short yardage gimmee touchdowns.

Forte only gained two yards on nine runs in the last game at Green Bay though he added 80 yards on seven receptions. The Packers were softer against the run last week but that was a product of the 49ers defense giving them field position and plenty of reasons to run the ball and chew up the clock - probably not a luxury for the Bears. Bush holds much less attraction here with the Packers likely to not give up many one-yard opportunities. But the passing game should shine once again against a secondary that just allowed two scores and 211 yards to Alex Smith.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 8 2 2 32 10 4
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 21 20 20 17 26 13

QB Jay Cutler, CHI DET 0000020000 ***
Cutler has been meh all year and especially meh of late, with two multiple touchdown efforts and one 300-yard game in his last six outings. He threw for 353 and 1 against the Lions in the earlier meeting and he'll be operating without his top targets; little reason for optimism here.
RB Jeremy Langford, CHI DET 6011100000 ***
Langford's been a tweener of late--not as productive as Matt Forte, not getting the scoring opportunities of Ka'Deem Carey. Unless Forte's back injury knocks him out of this one, that tweener role is tough to trust with a fantasy start here.
WR Josh Bellamy, CHI DET 004500000 ***
No writeup available
WR Marc Mariani, CHI DET 005400000 ***
No writeup available
TE Zach Miller, CHI DET 003300000 *
In the three games since Martellus Bennett went down with a season-ending injury Miller has 18 catches for 211 yards and a score. He'll put that volume up against a Lions defense that's given up TE TDs in seven of the last nine games.

Update: Great opportunity for Miller... only he didn't practice all week because of a toe injury. He's listed as questionable, but zero practice usually is a bad thing.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI DET 2222 ***
Fourteen last vs. DET
Fourteen points last week as well
Gould is good to go

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 SF 22-30 10 BYE -----
2 CHI ----- 11 @DET -----
3 @SEA ----- 12 @NYG -----
4 NO ----- 13 MIN -----
5 @IND ----- 14 DET -----
6 @HOU ----- 15 @CHI -----
7 @STL ----- 16 TEN -----
8 JAC ----- 17 @MIN -----
9 ARI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 20,1 320,3
WR Randall Cobb 5-70
WR James Jones 5-70,1
WR Jordy Nelson 6-100,1
TE Jared Cook 5-50,1
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers seemed unbeatable in 2011 other than one trap game in Kansas City. Opening at home would surely mean a win regardless of opponent but that's not going to be true. The 49ers came in with a predictably bad-ass defense but their offense fared far better than expected. It wasn't even a lock that they had an offense coming in. But they outscored the Pack in Green Bay and then thwarted the comeback attempt.

Several interesting aspects to that game were seen. Cedric Benson's race up the rankings may have been premature since he only gained 18 yards on nine carries and had no receptions which was expected. Aaron Rodgers was still the leading rusher (5-27). The Packers do not want a ground game beyond the ability to punch in a short score (provided Rodgers does not take it like normal) and to get a few first downs along the way. The opportunity should be akin to Stevan Ridley who gets to play defenses on their heels from the Patriots passing attack. At least last week, no such benefit existed against the 49ers still very potent defense.

The Packers had some success running the ball on the Bears last year but it is too early to rely on Benson for anything beyond some marginal rushing yardage. The Bears defense should be good enough to keep him at bay this week as well unless the Packers get a really big lead. On passing downs, the Packers took to using Randall Cobb in the backfield and that resulted in him leading the team with nine receptions for 77 yards. That's bad for Benson but great for Cobb. It seems a genius move really - the speedy and elusive Cobb barely has room on either side. Why not put him in the backfield? If it works it could start something new in the NFL. This is really something to watch.

The 49ers were able to largely take Greg Jennings (5-34) and Jordy Nelson (5-64) out of the game plan but Cobb and James Jones (4-81, TD) both stepped up along with Jermichael Finley (7-47, TD).

Jennings is listed as doubtful to play because of a groin strain and will be a game time decision. That makes James Jones more interesting and Jennings a huge risk to rely on.

This still remains a potent offense with a lot of weapons. The Packers had a rough opening that they lost at the end. This week is a restart at home against a familiar opponent. That should get them back on track.


Gaining Fantasy Points GB 7 32 3 6 32 10
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 12 6 24 23 2 22

QB Aaron Rodgers, GB MIN 0000025020 ***
Behind a banged up line and mired in a two-game mini-slump--longer, if you want to go back to his last 300-yard game back in week 10--Rodgers is no longer a fantasy lock, at home or otherwise. Further limiting expectations are a now-healthy Vikings defense and an underachieving receiving corps.
RB Eddie Lacy, GB MIN 10011100000 ***
Lacy has owned the Vikings, with four straight 100-yard rushing games (after a 94-yard debut) and six touchdowns in five career meetings. The Vikings vow to tackle lower and have returned multiple key defenders to the lineup following injuries, but there's still plenty of reasons to like the wildly inconsistent Lacy's chances this week.
RB James Starks, GB MIN 2004401000 ***
Starks had some run as the Packers' pass-catching back, then filled in for the enigmatic Eddie Lacy, and now has returned to limited touches. Given Lacy's track record of success against the Vikings, expect Starks to take a back seat--fantasy and otherwise.
WR James Jones, GB MIN 005701000 ***
Jones went big with 6-109-1 in Minnesota, but in five games since then he's totaled just 16-196-1. Startable based on the earlier meeting with Minnesota, but inconsistent nonetheless.
WR Randall Cobb, GB MIN 006700000 **
Cobb has been Aaron Rodgers most reliable target over the past five games, catching two-thirds of his 34 targets for 239 yards but failing to find the end zone since scoring against the Vikings in Week 11. Still, he's the safest of Green Bay's receiver options.
WR Davante Adams, GB MIN 003400000 ***
More targets than Cobb since the Vikings game, but he hasn't topped 42 yards since then and has one touchdown--and many more key drops. Unreliable in more ways than one.
TE Jared Cook, GB MIN 003400000 ***
It'd be easier to be fired up about the Niners giving up TE TDs in two of the past three games if Cooks had scored recently. Like, at any point this season.
TE Richard Rodgers, GB MIN 002200000 ***
The Vikings haven't given up a TE TD since Week 10 and held Rodgers to 3-7 in the earlier meeting. Rodgers has done little since his Hail Mary back in Week 13 and is too inconsistent to be banked on here.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB MIN 22233 ***
Season-high sixteen
in last game against Vikings
Settle for three much?

* CHI at GB (THU) * DAL at SEA * MIN at IND * TB at NYG
ARI at NE * DET at SF * NO at CAR * TEN at SD
* BAL at PHI * HOU at JAC * NYJ at PIT * WAS at STL
* Updated CLE at CIN KC at BUF * OAK at MIA DEN at ATL (MON)

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