12/12/21: Bears vs. Packers: Picks, props and three things to know

Green Bay is aiming for its third straight season sweep of the Bears

Aaron Rodgers Packers Bears
(USA Today Sports)

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Good morning, frents!

We're probably in for a tough one tonight, but look on the bright side: This could be the last day we ever watch the Bears play Aaron Rodgers in a Packers uniform. ย 

Bears (4-8) at Packers (9-3)

โฐ : 7:20 ๐Ÿ“บ :NBC
๐ŸŽ™๏ธ : Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
๐Ÿ’ฐ : Bears +12.5, O/U 43

Last week: The Bears lost 33-22 to Arizona at Soldier Field. The Packers enjoyed a bye week.

All-time record: The Packers lead 102-95-6.

Last meeting: The Packers won 24-14 October 17 at Soldier Field.

Three things to know

(USA Today Sports)

By Brendan Sugrue

The NFL's oldest rivalry is renewed on Sunday night when the Bears visit the Packers to close out their season series. And like it's been for the better part of three decades, the Packers are heavy favorites in this one.

Although Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields believes the rivalry is on the cusp of turning Chicago's way, that likely won't happen this year. Here are three things to know going into yet another primetime matchup at Lambeau Field:

1. Bears-Packers on primetime isn't kind to Chicago

This is the 17th straight season in which the Bears and Packers have played at least one game in prime time. While the first few years yielded positive results (4-2 in the Bears favor), things have taken a rough turn in the last decade. Since 2011, the Packers have won eight of the 10 games that have been played under the lights.

What's more is that they've done it in convincing fashion. In that same span, the Packers margin of victory has been over 15 points on average, compared to 10 points per victory in day games. It helps the Packers that the majority of those primetime games have taken place at Lambeau Field, but it's not a good omen for the Bears heading into this game.

2. Akiem Hicks is a surprise scratch

When it comes to injury news, it's easy to read the tea leaves earlier in the week to determine who might be playing and who is likely to miss the next game.

But Akiem Hicks comes as a surprise scratch.

Hicks was downgraded to out on Saturday. He's still dealing with an ankle injury that's kept him out of the last three games. There was a lot of optimism for his availability this week, though. He practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday and Thursday before getting in a full practice on Friday. He was officially listed as questionable. But all signs pointed to him playing after he spoke with the media and expressed his excitement to play in this rivalry game.

Instead, the Bears will be shorthanded on their defensive line yet again. The only good news is the team finally flexed outside linebacker Charles Snowden from the practice squad, giving the undrafted free agent his first crack at an NFL game.

3. The Packers aren't great coming off a bye week

Want some good news for the Bears? They're facing the Packers coming off a bye week. Normally, this would be cause for concern as teams have the chance for extra rest and to get healthy. But it's not the same advantage for the Packers.

Since 2017, the Packers are 0-4 coming off a bye week. It gets worse in recent years, too. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is 0-2 in the regular season and has lost each game by a combined 57 points. Granted, those two losses came at the hands of the eventual NFC champion in the San Francisco 49ers in 2019 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. But it appears LaFleur has similar struggles coming off long rest like Matt Nagy.

This might make Bears fans a feel little more confident about the upcoming matchup, but it's going to take more than some bye week struggles to overcome the Packers.

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Kevin Kaduk โ€” Midway Minute (8-4)
Packers 35, Bears 10
"No one's going to overthink this game. While the offense may be able to generate more points than what I've predicted, the defense remains a hurt mess."

Scott Koral โ€” Midway Minute (10-2)
Packers 41, Bears 21
"Can this be the Final Polka* for Rodgers against the Bears, please?"
*Last Dance reference

Brendan Sugrue โ€” Midway Minute (11-1)
Packers 27, Bears 16
"I have the Bears covering and that feels like a win in itself, sadly. Hopefully Justin Fields' proclamation about the shifting rivalry comes sooner rather than later."

David Brown โ€” Midway Minute (7-5)
Packers 44, Bears 9
"It seems like neither Nagyโ€™s firing nor Rodgersโ€™ sale to the Bears has gone through. Darn that escrow. In any event, not only must the show go on, but it must in front of everyone on Sunday Night Football. Itโ€™s our fault, as Bears fans, for being too willing to watch. At least Justin Fields is slated to play."

Maggie Hendricks โ€” Bally Sports (9-3)
Packers 33, Bears 10
"I have nothing clever to say about this game. Iโ€™m honestly concerned for Justin Fieldsโ€™ health, and I hope the anti-vax hero gets sacked a million times."

Alyssa Barbieri โ€” Midway Minute (11-1)
Packers 30, Bears 16
"If Chicago gets blown out by Green Bay, this would be the perfect opportunity for the McCaskeys to finally fire a head coach midseason."

Chris Maltby โ€” Beared Down (9-3)
Packers 34, Bears 20
"Justin Fields prevails in his return, but isnโ€™t enough to take down Green Bay in the Frozen Tundra. Is it still the Last Dance?"

Greg Braggs Jr. โ€” Braggs in the Stands (10-2)
Packers 48, Bears 10
"My prediction? Pain."

Three interesting prop bets

So I didn't feel that great about any of my picks last week and ended up going 3-for-3. I feel really good about these three, so, uh, bet with caution? โ€” K.K.

  1. A.J. Dillon OVER 50.5 rushing yards (-114): The Packers were content to run the ball against the Bears at Soldier Field in October. Dillon and Aaron Jones typically split carries but Dillon has gone over 20 carries in two of the last three games. I'm targeting the lower total here. (Jones O/U is at 59.5).
  2. Aaron Jones ANYTIME TOUCHDOWN (+100): Still have to give Jones some love here. I'm not sure I hate any Packers rushing prop with Hicks out.
  3. David Montgomery OVER 15.5 receiving yards (-131): Monty is coming off a season high eight catches off nine targets. With a game plan that's sure to focus on giving Fields as many easy outs as possible, this is a must-bet.

Beer recommendation

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