Gregor’s Packer Analysis
Week 14 Preview
In this issue:
The Bears head to Minnesota
The Packers host Detroit Sunday Night
The Vikings and the Bears both lose key players this week as Percy Harvin was placed on IR with an ankle injury and Brian Urlacher is expected to miss at least 3 weeks with a hamstring injury. The Vikings have been playing without Harvin since week 9. For fans that say he’s injury prone after missing time last year because of migraines it should be pointed out that an ankle injury isn’t related to migraines. This is the first major injury he’s had. He’s a playmaker when he’s healthy, it would be a mistake to give up on him. Urlacher hasn’t been close to the player he was with a knee injury slowing him all season, making his return from a hammy in addition to a gimpy knee possible, but he’ll be that much less effective.
This is a tough call. The Bears struggle against good teams, and teams with a good pass rush. The Vikings are one dimensional on offense and aren’t that good, but they had the lead in the second half against Green Bay last week and are 5-1 at home. Chicago’s run defense will give up yards to the NFL’s leading rusher, Adrian Peterson. The Vikes are actually pretty good rushing the passer at home. The Bears offensive line isn’t good. And the defense is fading.
The Bears are a 3 point favorite. This could go either way, but with pressure on Cutler and a big day from Peterson, Minnesota wins by 1.
The Packers host the Lions Sunday Night. The teams are going in opposite directions with Green Bay in first place at 8-4, and Detroit at the bottom of the NFC North at 4-8. Green Bay came from behind to beat the Vikings Sunday, while Detroit let Andrew Luck lead the Colts to a game winning touchdown as time expired.
The Lions offense can put points on the board, and Detroit’s defense gives up even more points than the offense can score 2 games out of 3. Calvin Johnson is having a monster year and is a tough matchup. But the Lions secondary gives up big plays and the Packers should be able to take advantage. It’s a good week to re-establish Greg Jennings as the number one receiver and James Jones will have opportunities with Jordy Nelson out.
Jordy Nelson was hurt against the Vikings as was James Starks. The Starks injury led the Packers to sign Ryan Grant. Starks was not put on IR but it’s unclear when he’ll play again. Charles Woodson and Sam Shields are practicing again and while it is likely Woodson will play in the secondary soon (probably not this week), Casey Hayward and Davon House will keep Shields off the field except for special teams and occasional substitutions when he returns.
TJ Lang is not likely to play this week, which means undrafted rookie Don Barclay will start at right tackle. What we saw in the second half last week against Minnesota will likely be repeated—short passes, running plays, and a tight end and / or running back kept in to help block.
The line is Green Bay by 6 and a half. The Packers look 10 points better than Detroit. Pack by 10.