The oldest rivalry in the NFL has become one-sided in recent years, something the Chicago Bears hope to change when they pay a visit to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night in a prime-time NFC North matchup. The Packers swept the season series last year en route to winning the division title and have captured six of the last seven matchups.
It will mark the 195th matchup between Chicago and Green Bay -- and the first where both teams are each coming off an overtime victory. Running back Jordan Howard’s 19-yard touchdown run provided the exclamation point on the Bears’ 23-17 victory over Pittsburgh, helping them avoid an 0-3 start for third straight season. Green Bay was seconds from a second straight defeat before Aaron Rodgers tossed a tying touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, setting up a game-winning field goal in overtime in a 27-24 victory over visiting Cincinnati. The series could not be more evenly matched -- each team has won 93 times to go along with six ties.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS,, NFL Network. LINE: Packers -7. O/U: 45.5
ABOUT THE BEARS (1-2): Chicago will try to run the ball for two reasons -- to keep the ball out of Rodgers’ hands and alleviate the pressure on quarterback Mike Glennon, who threw for only 101 yards and a TD on 15-of-22 passing. The Bears rushed for 220 yards against the Steelers as Howard, despite dealing with an ailing shoulder, piled up 138 and two scores while electrifying rookie Tarik Cohen had 78 yards on 12 carries. With the wide receiver corps ravaged by injury, Howard and Cohen also led the team with five and four catches, respectively. Safety Quintin Demps broke his arm in Sunday’s game, a blow for a defense that has only eight interceptions in each of the past two seasons.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (2-1): Rodgers is second in the league with 967 yards passing, exceeding 300 in each of the first three games, although his passer rating is below 100 for only the third time in 10 seasons since he took over as Green Bay’s starter. Rodgers has attempted at least 42 passes in each game behind a banged-up offensive line, among the reasons he has been sacked a league-high 13 times. Running back Ty Montgomery, despite leading the team with 18 receptions, has rushed for only 124 yards in three games, but he carved up the Bears for a career-best 162 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns in December. The Packers are eighth in the league, allowing 296.7 yards per game.
1. Rodgers has 17 scoring passes versus one interception in the past six matchups with Chicago.
2. Cohen has 20 receptions to lead all NFL running backs.
3. Nelson has 34 receptions and four TDs in the last five games against the Bears.
PREDICTION: Packers 30, Bears 16