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 Matt Forte 60 6-60
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 30 3-20
WR Alshon Jeffery 5-80,1
WR Eddie Royal 2-20
TE Martellus Bennett 4-40
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 @GB 0000024021 ***
Cutler's track record in Lambeau is shaky: three TDs and a dozen picks in four trips to Green Bay, averaging 210 yards per contest. Maybe the frozen tundra is losing some of its mystique, however, as the Pack has allowed back-to-back visiting quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns. And with Cutler playing better of late, a slight uptick over the 225 and 1 (and 1) he posted in the earlier meeting with the Packers seems probable.
RB Matt Forte, CHI @GB 7005400000 **
Sounds like Forte will be back for this one, and he's historically fared well against Green Bay--like his 141 and 1 in the earlier meeting this year. Expect Jeremy Langford to remain in the mix, but Forte should see enough work to be a viable low-end RB2/flex option.
RB Jeremy Langford, CHI @GB 2003201000 *
We have yet to see how touches will be split with Matt Forte returning, as Langford certainly earned a larger share with his play over the past month. However, between Forte's track record against Green Bay and the way the Packers D has been playing of late the leftovers aren't likely to amount to fantasy assistance.
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @GB 005600000 *
Jeffery should be back to his usual target levels this week, which yielded 5-78 against Green Bay in the season opener. The Packers have allowed every visiting WR1 to score or top 80 yards, so bank on Jeffery as you normally would.
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI @GB 002400000 ***
Wilson posted a solid 59 yards in the previous meeting with Green Bay. The Packers have allowed secondary receivers to score in their last two home games so one way or another Wilson should be knocking on the door of fantasy relevancy.
WR Josh Bellamy, CHI @GB 002300000 ***
Bellamy would have fantasy value if Alshon Jeffery doesn't play, but all indications are Chicago's WR1 will go in the Thanksgiving night tilt.
TE Zach Miller, CHI @GB 004501000 *
No Martellus Bennett means more looks for Miller, who has matched or outperformed the starter in three straight games. Green Bay has allowed TE TDs in three straight and four of five as well as two straight at home, so if you're stuck for a tight end Miller might be the lottery ticket you're looking for this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @GB 1122 ***
Gould has reached double digits in half his games--including the season opener against the Packers--and been close a couple more times, with multiple field goals in eight of 10 this season. It won't be easy in Green Bay, where opposing kickers are averaging less than five points per outing, but Gould's as steady as they come.

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
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 CHI 0000030030 ***
Rodgers has multiple touchdowns in five straight games he's finished against the Bears, and last time the Bears came to town he threw six scores. There's also a five-TD game on Rodgers' Lambeau-vs.-Bears recent resume, and after tossing three in the season opener against Chicago there's no reason to shy away from him here.
RB Eddie Lacy, GB CHI 7002100000 *
Lacy has scored in all five career meetings with the Bears, and after last week's 100-yard effort against the Vikings he looks to have his regular gig back as well. Chicago has already surrendered 100-yard games to Thomas Rawls, Adrian Peterson and Ronnie Hillman this year and a rejuvenated Lacy could be knocking on that door as well.
RB James Starks, GB CHI 2005500000 *
Starks returns to his caddy role, with only a modicum of upside against a Bears D that has yet to let two backs from the same team top nine fantasy points in a game.
WR James Jones, GB CHI 005602000 **
After being shut out at home in Week 10 Jones returned with a vengeance last week, restoring confidence that he can be counted on for something at least close to his 4-51-2 from the earlier meeting in Chicago.
WR Randall Cobb, GB CHI 005501000 ***
Cobb has scored in four straight against the Bears, who have let multiple wideouts score in four games this season--including last week. He'll be just fine.
WR Davante Adams, GB CHI 003500000 ***
With the return of James Jones to fantasy relevance Adams fell to third in the passing game pecking order with less than half the targets Jones or Randall Cobb saw last week. He played a bigger role in the season opener against Chicago with eight targets and a team-high 59 yards, but he failed to score. Tough to bank on the Packers going three deep this week, so look for fantasy help elsewhere.
TE Richard Rodgers, GB CHI 002300000 ***
The Bears have allowed only two TE TDs this year, none since their Week 7 bye, and they held Rodgers to 3-27 in the earlier meeting this season. There are better fantasy options out there.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Mason Crosby, GB CHI 1144 ***
Crosby comes off a season-high 16 point outing, his first multiple field goal game in more than a month. He counted by ones in the earlier meeting with Chicago but the Bears' D has improved; that actually might bode well for Mason.

* 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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