The National Football League has a lot to consider in devising the regular season schedule. Both competitive factors and regulations that dictate scheduling must be considered. Regulations dictate which teams will play which teams based on the prior season results and the rotation for games outside a team’s division and conference.. But, when and where teams play is in the hands of the people making the schedule.
Let's assume that they don’t ring their hands in evil glee when they put one team in a very tough situation to survive. Rather, it is just the luck of the draw that can land a team like the Green Bay Packers in the predicament they find themselves in this week.
Green Bay played on the road last week following three straight wins and fought the Cincinnati Bengals in a game either team could have won. Both teams missed field goals that could have decided the game, and then the Packers took advantage of a third try to put the contest in their win column.
That game gave testament to a young Bengals squad that they are close to becoming a team that can compete against the NFL elite. Or, and this is just as plausible, it revealed the Packers are not what they are cracked up to be. Maybe the Packers struggled to beat the Bengals last week because they just aren’t that good, and the drama with Aaron Rodgers might have a long range negative influence.
If that is true, then the Packers are in a real tough spot this week when they go from a narrow road win to a second straight road game against a division opponent that has won two in a row but trail them in the standings.
You don’t think that there is a Bears fan in the NFL scheduling department that pushed through this trap for the Packers? You don’t, or do you?
Chicago made the transition from veterans who can’t win to a rookie they hope can, when they shifted quarterbacks to first round draft choice Justin Fields.
In his first start, Chicago fans let out a belch of discontent as the rookie was overmatched by the Cleveland Browns defense and held to one net passing yard on the day. He had thrown for 68 yards, but was sacked nine times for 67 yards in losses. The gazelle Bears followers were hoping to see turned into quick road kill to open his NFL career, 26-6.
No high hopes headed into fourth week action and the second game with Fields at quarterback when Chicago hosted the Detroit Lions. Off his one-sided defeat, Fields rode the motivation gained from doubt to a solid performance to lead the way to the Bears second win, Chicago had also downed Cincinnati in second week action, 20-17.
Last week, in his third start, Field led a mistake free offense with a team led by a solid defensive unit. The result was a road win over Las Vegas Raiders in Jon Gruden’s last game as head coach of the Silver and Black. This week, they host the Green Bay Packers … not overconfident but perfectly poised to take advantage of a division opponent playing their second straight on the road and riding a four game winning streak.
Behind in the standings, with a chance to catch the Packers with a win in the competitive NFC North Division race, is a likely spot for a Chicago triumph. If Green Bay was to win here, pull at least two games ahead of all competition in the NFC North, they are a much better team than my numbers currently indicate.
Qoxhi Picks: Chicago Bears (+4½) over Green Bay Packers