NFL Game Picks: Week 2’s Thursday Night Football

Chicago Bears at the Green Bay Packers

Weather:  Colder than you think. The temperature could go to 40 degrees or so. Wind 5-10 mph. I mention this because, well, it is Aaron Rodgers.

Straight Up:  Green Bay

Against the Spread:  Chicago +6.5

Injuries: 

Green Bay – No. 1 WR Greg Jennings is doubtful with a sore groin. Ditto DE C. J. Wilson’s groin. Yes, I know that’s too much information.

Chicago – Stud linebacker and heart of the defense Brian Urlacher’s knee is never going to be 100% again. Let’s all just accept it. CB Charles Tillman is probable after hurting his leg. DT Nate Collins is back from a one-game substance abuse suspension.

Analysis:

Aaron Rodgers was forced to run the ball five times on Sunday. Rodgers is mobile, but he’s not Cam Newton and no one in Wisconsin wants to see him rushing the football. Cedric Benson only got nine snaps. Mike McCarthy – you signed a power runner in order to not give him the ball?

In Chicago, RB Matt Forte is reportedly not happy with the number of carries given to Michael Bush. Forte needs to get over it and be grateful that he might still have something left if the team makes it to January. Last week, Jay Cutler passed for 333 yards and two scores plus one costly interception to the Colts secondary. Brandon Marshal just loves playing with Jay Cutler: he racked up 119 yards and a score.

Cutler also pleaded with the fans to tone down the noise in the red zone. Because he’s, well, Jay Cutler—it didn’t come out quite right. Bears fans should listen to him anyway. Remember how you could hear a pin drop at Lucas Oil Field when Peyton was on the move? That’s the idea.

The Bears creamed the Colts last week, while Green Bay lost by eight to one of the best teams in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers cannot afford to lose a second home game in this competitive division. I’m picking them on the desperation factor.

Storylines:

Officials – Other than seemingly interminable ball-placement intervals and mini mid-field confabs, the replacement officials generally performed acceptably. Right up until the Seattle/Arizona game. For those of you who do not live in the NFC West zone and didn’t care about this game—the refs awarded Seattle an extra time out in the waning seconds. Fortunately for the Cards—and the officials—the Seahawks WRs could not come down with any of rookie QB Russell Wilson’s would-be winning TD passes.

This lack of an officiating disaster further weakens the bargaining power of the union officials who have been locked out of their jobs by owners for months. Fans could be stuck with confabs for a while.

Green Bay offensive line – Still weak, making Rodgers life more dangerous.

Green Bay running game – Still weak, making Rodgers life more difficult.

Key matchup – Jay Cutler versus the Packers secondary.

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