CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27: Aaron Rodgers (R) #12 and Scott Wells #63 of the Green Bay Packers celebrate after Rodgers scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 27 2010 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Only two teams that started the season 0-2 since 2008 have made the playoffs. If you don't think that adds tremendous motivation to the Green Bay Packers Thursday, think again.
Green Bay opened as 4-point favorites, but were quickly bet up to -7 at one shop (and it sits around -6 at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com). But as tempting as the point spread may be (and historically the Packers cover it against the Bears as their 7-2 ATS mark indicates), it's the total that has attracted the most handicapping interest.
"Eight of the last nine meetings have played UNDER the total and the only exception was the Christmas Day game in 2011," said Jack Randall, whose site provides the NFL odds to SBNation. "Still, a lot of the early totals wagering is on the OVER, according to our consensus data."
It's a crucial early-season battle in the NFC North Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
The Green Bay Packers got a tough draw in Week One hosting the San Francisco 49ers, and the 49ers turned out to be more than the Packers could handle as they fell 30-22 as a 6-point favorite at home.
The Packers' potent offense was held to just 22 points despite a solid day (303 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception) from Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have already lost as many games in the 2012 regular season as they did in 2011 when they went 15-1.
It was a clean start to the season for the Chicago Bears last week as they took care of business in a 41-21 win at home over the Indianapolis Colts as an 11-point favorite (at one sportsbook). Jay Cutler looked great in the win with 333 passing yards (with two TDs and one INT) and the Bears defense forced five turnovers.
All of a sudden, this is a very big game for both of these teams. If the Bears win this game, they would improve to 2-0 and take a commanding lead in the NFC North over the Green Bay Packers, who would fall to 0-2.
On the other hand, if Green Bay picks up the win, both teams will enter Week 3 1-1 and there will be no reason to panic in Green Bay.
Chicago is a legitimate playoff contender this season, but Green Bay should win this game. Mike McCarthy will surely remind his team that teams that start off the season 0-2 make the playoffs just 13% of the time, and it's hard to see this Packers team that is 14-2 in its last 16 games at home losing here three straight times dating back to last year.
It also doesn't hurt that Green Bay is 7-2 SU and ATS in its last nine games against Chicago.
PICK: Green Bay -6 (courtesy of Pick Shark)
If the Packers go 0-2, can they still make the playoffs?
No, it's too big of a hole. (58 votes)
Yes, they were 15-1 last year, they can do it. (200 votes)
258 total votes