Zylbert’s NFL Over/Unders: How Will Aaron Rodgers Fare In Return Opposite Bears?
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.
Betting odds: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
- Over/Under: 47
- Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: NBC
When it comes to betting over/unders in the NFL, you ideally would like to have one of the game’s best quarterbacks involved.
Fortunately that is the case in the first Sunday Night Football broadcast of the year, when the Packers commence their season at Lambeau Field with a healthy Aaron Rodgers under center against the rival Chicago Bears.
Rodgers was limited to just seven games last season due to his collarbone injury — his fewest in a season since becoming a full-time starter — but that should fuel his fire heading into this season.
One thing to know about the former NFL MVP: He is typically at his best when suiting up against a division opponent. In fact, Rodgers’ 109.4 career passer rating in 54 career games versus teams in the NFC North is his highest against any division.
In 19 career meetings with Chicago, he’s 15-4, completing 67.7% of his passes for 4,596 yards and a whopping 42 touchdowns against just nine interceptions.
Not only that, the Packers have scored more than 24 points in seven of their last eight meetings with the Bears when Rodgers starts.
In addition, Rodgers’ career passer rating at Lambeau (109.2) is more than 10 points higher than it is on the road (98.7).
He typically manufactures more points at home as well, with his injury-marred 2017 season serving as yet another example in that trend. Green Bay was more than three full points better in Rodgers’ home games than his away outings.
Look for the Packers to return to their high-scoring ways right out of the gate. While it may hurt losing Jordy Nelson, there is still plenty of firepower in this offense, including possibly the most talented tight end Rodgers has ever had in Jimmy Graham.
But while Rodgers is expected to light it up in his first game back healthy, can a Bears team that hasn’t finished above .500 since 2012 keep up for the sake of this over?
The Bears scored the fourth-fewest points in football last season with John Fox as the head coach. Matt Nagy is now in charge, and based on what he did last season as the play-caller in Kansas City, this Bears offense could really take off.
Nagy began calling the plays in Week 13 for a Chiefs offense that started to sputter, and the results were exceptional.
In fact, Kansas City averaged an incredible 28.6 points per contest in its final five games with Nagy doing the play-calling. And in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, Nagy arguably has a player more suitable for his frequent RPO-calling tendencies than what he had in Alex Smith last season.
Trubisky engineered an offense last year as a rookie that finished dead-last in passing yards, but he displayed plenty of flashes of promise.
The thought process is that Trubisky can take at least one step forward this season with Nagy calling the shots, and with an improved surrounding cast that now includes Allen Robinson and Trey Burton, that may seem more likely than not.
The two-headed running game of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen is also a positive to lean on, especially in the opener against a Packers defense that allowed 24 points per game last year, seventh-most in the league.
Play: OVER 47 (-110)
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.