Saturday night preseason football and we the Green Bay Packers travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. The game has a start time of 8:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised locally. Current Vegas odds have the Bears listed as 1.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 42.
Analysis: The Green Bay Packers went just 8-7-1 last year, but that was still good enough to give the the NFC North title. They did lose to the Niners in the Wildcard game, but considering they were without Rodgers for 7 games it was still a decent year for them. This year they should be much stronger. Aaron Rodgers was gone from week 9 and came back in week 16, but still threw for 2568 yards, with 17 TDs and just 6 INTs for the year. He should have a big bounceback year and has some nice weapons to work with in Jordy Nelson (1324 yards, 8 TDs) and Randall Cobb (433 yards, 4 TDs), to go along with 2nd round pick Davante Adams and 5th round pick Richard Rodgers. Very unlikely the Packers will miss Jones and Finely all that much in the passing game. . The running game is in good hands with Eddie lacy, who rumbled for 1178 yards and 11 TDs last year, plus they signed FB John Kuhn from Pittsburgh, which adds another solid blocker for Lacy. The OL is average at best. The Packers were 24th in points allowed last year (26.8 ppg) and 25th in yards allowed (372.2 ypg). Injuries contributed to the fall in defense, but this year they are much stronger and have added Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion through Free Agency, plus Having a healthy Clay Mathews and Datone Jones will help as well. The Packers solidified their line through 3rd round pick Kyrie Thornton, while grabbing Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will greatly aid a secondary that allowed 30 TDs, while picking off just 11 passes.
The Tennessee Titans got off to a 3-1 start last year, but then the wheels fell off and they went just 4-10 the rest of the way, finishing at 7-9. The Titans will be an improved team this year, but not sure it will show up in wins and losses. Last year the Titans were 19th in the league in scoring (22,6 ppg) and 22nd in total yards (336.8 ypg). Jake Locker had a solid start to the year, but then the injury bug hit in week 5 and that was pretty much all she wrote for the Titans. Locker will be back and healthy and he does have Kendall Wright back, who was a 1000 yard receiver last year, plus Justin Hunter, who showed flashes of brilliance a year ago, with 354 yards receiving ay 19.4 yards per pop. Nate Walker is also back at WR, after grabbing 58 balls for 919 yards last year. Chris Johnson is gone from the running game, but the Titans did draft Bishop Sankey (Washington) to fill the void and he should split plenty of time with Shonne Greene. The OL gets a boost from the drafting of 11th over pick OT Taylor Lewan (Michigan), but still there is some work to do along the line. Defensively, the Titans ranked 16th in points allowed (22.6 ppg) and 14th in yards allowed (337.9 ypg). Overall the defense was not that bad and should be better this year. Getting Daquan Jones (NT, Penn State) with their 3rd pick will be a big help along a ling that includes DT Jurrell Casey, who had 10.5 sacks last year. Zach Brown and Derrick Morgan are players on the rise, while drafting DB Marqueston Huff (Wyoming), should add depth to a solid secondary.
Pick: Going to look to the under in this game. The Packers offense din't perform well last year without Rodgers in there, so they will limit him greatly in this game and I don't see the pack putting up a whole lot of points without him in there. Flynn and Tolzien are not quality backups, as they proved last year. The Tennessee Titans were without Locker for much of the year last season and they struggled to score as well. He won't get much time in their and their backups are now Charlie Whitehurst, Tyler Wilson and Zach Mettenberger. Yikes. Tennessee will probably work allot on their run game trying to see what Sankey can do, while also in the mix is Shonne Green. Very hard to see Tennessee moving the ball a whole lot, especially vs a very improved Green Bay defense that is looking to bounce back after last year's tough showing. No more than 35 in this one.
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