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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF

Prediction: CHI 20, GB 30 (Line: GB by 11)

Players of Interest: Josh McCown, Martellus Bennett

Update: James Jones was limited in practices so far and his knee is better than last week but he is expected to be a true game time decision and not 100% healthy if he does play. I will still hold him out of the projections.

The 5-2 Packers are on a four game winning streak but are only 2-2 on the road. The 4-3 Bears gave the Redskins a win before going on their bye but show up this week without Jay Cutler. This is the Monday night game and looked much more interesting before the Bears lost their quarterback and the Packers lost most of their receivers.

The Packers swept the Bears in 2012 and won 21-13 in the home matchup.

1 CIN 24-21 10 DET -
2 MIN 31-30 11 BAL -
3 @PIT 40-23 12 @STL -
4 @DET 32-40 13 @MIN -
5 NO 18-26 14 DAL -
6 NYG 27-21 15 @CLE -
7 @WAS 41-45 16 @PHI -
8 BYE WEEK 17 GB -
9 @GB - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Matt Forte 60 5-40
WR Alshon Jeffery 4-80,1
WR Brandon Marshall 7-80
TE Martellus Bennett 3-20,1
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears defense was already a major problem thanks to injuries and gave up over 40 points in both of their most recent road games. But losing Jay Cutler is going to have an even deeper impact on this offense that has been very productive in Marc Trestman's new system. This is probably the most important game of the year and the Bears are in a bad spot. At least they had the bye to prepare.

QUARTERBACKS: Jay Cutler tore his groin muscle and is out for at least three more weeks and it could be much longer depending on how quickly he does or does not heal. That's a bad situation no matter how you spin it and was like 2011 when he missed the final six games and the Bears lost five in a row. This week is a critical matchup that would have needed Cutler.

Josh McCown already played in two games relieving an injured Cutler in 2011 but last week was his first action since. McCown is 34 years-old and a veteran of five different teams. He's fine for a few games but not what the Bears need if Cutler extends his absence.

RUNNING BACKS: Matt Forte comes off his best game of the year when he ran in three touchdowns and gained 91 yards on 16 carries in Washington. Forte is one of the most productively consistent players in the NFL and always turns in around 100 total yards or more every week. There's no doubt that the Bears would like to lean on Forte even more with Cutler out but that fact won't be lost on the defenses either. Even if the defense go after the run more than before, Forte can catch the ball anyway.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The plus side is that McCown played almost the entire Redskins game and connected with Alshon Jeffery (4-105) and Brandon Marshall (6-75). All is not lost here because Cutler is gone for a month or so. The offense is designed around those two receivers and McCown should be able to maintain the offense for now.

TIGHT ENDS: The one area of biggest concern is what happens with Martellus Bennett without Cutler there? While Bennett scored for the first time since week two it was his only catch in the game. Bennett typically gets five to seven targets per week but only received two from McCown.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Packers were giving up multiple touchdowns in every game but these last three weeks have only allowed one passing score per team at home. McCown presents a wildcard into this equation but it is a safe bet that he'll try to operate the offense no differently than Cutler would. The Packers have not allowed any runner to score in Green Bay so far but already allowed five scores in the four road games. All that happens is speculation since it will stem from how well McCown can connect with his receivers. But there is no reason to bench Forte, Marshall or even Bennett. Alshon Jeffery is also a big risk but has upside. Chances are that you do not have anyone as good as these now riskier players. This will be a Monday night game which tends to be higher scoring.

WHAT TO WATCH: Josh McCown has to step up and keep the offense going because the defense isn't going to stop anyone. He is now the key to the Bears offense for at least the next month or longer.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 13 10 8 14 12 2
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 22 10 15 31 4 10

 

1 @SF 28-34 10 PHI -
2 WAS 38-20 11 @NYG -
3 @CIN 30-34 12 MIN -
4 BYE WEEK 13 @DET -
5 DET 22-9 14 ATL -
6 @BAL 19-17 15 @DAL -
7 CLE 31-13 16 PIT -
8 @MIN 44-31 17 @CHI -
9 CHI - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 10 280,2
RB Eddie Lacy 100,1 4-20
WR Jarrett Boykin 5-80,1
WR Jordy Nelson 6-110,1
WR Myles White 3-50
TE Andrew Quarless 2-20
PK Mason Crosby 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss of receivers would decimate most offenses but so far the Packers have compensated and get to face weaker defenses for the next month or more. Owning a good rushing game has made a major difference and the passing game has merely changed personnel with the same results. The Packers are on a winning streak that could extend for many more weeks. Assuming the injuries do not remain a weekly feature.

QUARTERBACKS: Oddly enough, losing receivers has made Aaron Rodgers more productive than he was. After three straight games with just one touchdown each, Rodgers lost his wideouts and passed for 260 yards and three scores on the Browns. Then he left Minnesota after throwing for 285 yards and two more touchdowns. Rodgers has never failed to score at least once and he's been a lock for over 250 yards every week.

RUNNING BACKS: Eddie Lacy is the workhorse that all backs want to be. For the four weeks since he returned from his concussion, he's ran at least 22 times every week and is now also adding four or five catches. Lacy scored in each of the last two games and provides a very balanced attack for the defense to figure out. James Starks is healthy against at least temporarily and was allowed seven runs in Minnesota that gained 57 yards and one score. This remains Lacy's backfield and he is sort of throwback to what running backs used to be.

WIDE RECEIVERS: James Jones was inactive last week and never practiced so I will assume that his knee is going to keep him out this week as well. The Packers seem to be fine anyway since Jordy Nelson scored in each of the last three games and comes off a season best 123 yards and two scores in Minnesota. Jarrett Boykin opened with a bang when he caught eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown on the Browns and followed that up with five catches for 89 yards last week. Myles White is the other new face but the magic ended and he only gained 35 yards on five catches in Minnesota.

Nelson is playing as well as ever and Boykin is a capable replacement. The Packers seem to be fine.

TIGHT ENDS: Just because Andrew Quarless was the next name on the depth chart didn't mean he was going to replace Jermichael Finley's role as a receiver. Quarless is just a blocker and still only has a total of six catches on the year. He has no fantasy value. Sorry. Nice try.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bears have allowed two touchdowns to almost every quarterback that they have faced along with good to great yardage. The rushing defense has also taken a big hit as show by the three scores by Roy Helu in their last game. What may have as much impact here is Cutler being out. If McCown cannot maintain the same level of passing, the Packers are just going to run more and get shorter fields. All the normal Packer fantasy plays are great this week - Rodgers, Lacy, Nelson and Boykin.

WHAT TO WATCH: Chances are the Packers may run more this week and that could end up calling up James Starks again. It would be nice to get a better feel for Myles White who is probably just a warm body but one with a Packers jersey on.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 4 13 2 16 1 19
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 20 25 13 30 29 20

WEEK 9 CIN at MIA (THU) KC at BUF PIT at NE CHI at GB (MON)
ATL at CAR MIN at DAL SD at WAS On Bye:
BAL at CLE NO at NYJ TB at SEA ARI, DEN, DET
*UPDATED IND at HOU PHI at OAK TEN at STL JAC, NYG, SF


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