Packers vs Bears

Packers vs Bears Live: odds, line: 2019 NFL Kickoff Game picks, predictions from model on 78-49 run The SportsLine Projection Model has locked in its picks for Thursday’s Packers vs. Bears ..

The Matt LaFleur era in Green Bay gets started on Thursday when the Packers visit the Chicago Bears to kick off the NFL’s 100th season. The first-time head coach previously spent 10 seasons as an assistant with five NFL teams, and last year he was the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. LaFleur takes over for Mike McCarthy, who was fired last year after 13 seasons in Green Bay. LaFleur’s head coaching debut comes against a Bears team that boasts one of the top defenses in the NFL and is favored to win the NFC North. A year ago, the Monsters of the Midway were No. 3 in total defense, No. 7 against the run, No. 1 against the pass, and tops in points allowed. Kickoff for Bears vs. Packers is set for 8:20 p.m. ET. Chicago is a three-point favorite in the latest Bears vs. Packers odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 46.5, up a half-point from the opener. Before you make any Bears vs. Packers picks and NFL predictions, see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

This model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up more than $7,000 for $100 players on its top-rated NFL picks since its inception four years ago. It nailed its top-rated NFL picks in 2018-19, finishing the season on a sizzling 16-6 run. For the year, it went 30-15 on all top-rated picks (20-8 against the spread), extending its two-year run to a strong 78-49. 

The model ranked inside the Top 10 on NFLPickWatch.com for the third straight year on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 96 percent of CBS Sports office pool players. Anyone who has followed it is way up. 

Now, the model has honed in on Bears vs. Packers in the 2019 NFL Kickoff Game. We can tell you it’s leaning under, and it also says one side of the spread hits in over 50 percent of simulations. That one is available only at SportsLine.

The model knows the the Bears have arguably the best defensive player in the NFL in linebacker Khalil Mack. The relentless edge-rushing terror has 53 sacks in five seasons, including 12.5 last year. He has been named first-team All-Pro three times (2015, 2016 and 2018). 

Mack leads a defense that is widely considered the best in the league. Last season, the Bears led the league in scoring defense (17.7 points per game), takeaways (36), interceptions (27), interception return touchdowns (five) and run defense (80.0). Chicago also tied for third in sacks with a head-turning 50, an average of more than three per game. Almost all of the unit’s key players are back in 2019, so unless the departure of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is unexpectedly too much to overcome, there’s no reason to expect a decline from last season.

But just because Chicago was the best team in the NFC North last year does not guarantee it will cover the Bears vs. Packers spread on Thursday in the 2019 NFL Kickoff Game.

Rodgers is healthy after two injury-plagued seasons. Though he played 16 games last year, he did so with a tibial plateau fracture and MCL sprain. The last season Rodgers was healthy, in 2016, he completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,428 yards and 40 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. A healthy Rodgers can’t be dismissed even by the league’s best defense.

In addition, the Packers made significant improvements on defense in the offseason. They signed Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith and drafted Rashan Gary in the first round to bolster the pass rush. They also signed former Bears safety Adrian Amos. Green Bay has the makings of a unit that should be much better than the one that gave up 25.0 points per game last season, which ranked 22nd in the league.

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