CHICAGO BEARS (4-3) at GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-2)
The Jay Cutler-less Bears head to Lambeau Field on Monday night for a matchup with the streaking Packers.
Chicago is coming off a bye week in which Josh McCown prepared for his new role as the starting quarterback where he will replace Cutler (groin) for the next month. The Packers also have injury concerns being minus three key receivers in WR Randall Cobb (fibula), WR James Jones (shin) and TE Jermichael Finley (neck). However, that didn't stop Green Bay from defeating the Vikings 44-31 on the road to give the team four straight SU victories (3-0-1 ATS). The Bears have failed to cover in four straight games, dropping three of those contests outright. In the past six meetings between these teams, the Packers are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. They are on a five-game ATS winning streak against the Bears and have won their past five home games (4-1 ATS) against Chicago as well. As the coach of Green Bay, Mike McCarthy is 33-13 ATS (72percent) versus division opponents, including 8-1 ATS over the past two seasons. Chicago, however, is 12-4 ATS (75percent) after allowing 200 or more rushing yards in its previous game since 1992.
The Bears got off to a 3-0 start this season, but have slowed down since and will now be without QB Jay Cutler (groin) for another three weeks at least. Josh McCown takes over as the starter in this offense, and last game in relief he completed 14-of-20 passes for 204 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions while rushing four times for 33 yards in a 45-41 loss in Washington. The offense will now rely even more heavily on the shoulders of RB Matt Forte, who has rushed for 533 yards (4.6 YPC) and six touchdowns this year. The running back has also caught 35 passes for 262 yards and provides a nice safety valve for McCown. Although he's gained 817 total yards in nine career meetings with Green Bay, Forte has not found the end zone in any of the past seven meetings. But this is still a pass-heavy offense with 255 passing YPG (11th in NFL) and 7.3 yards per attempt (9th in league) thanks to a dynamic receiving duo of WRs Brandon Marshall (540 rec. yards, 5 TD) and Alshon Jeffery (561 rec. yards, 2 TD). The Packers did a great job limiting both players last year, as Marshall had only eight catches and 80 yards over the two defeats, while Jeffery caught only one of his six targets against Green Bay. With Jay Cutler out, the Chicago defense is going to need to step it up as a unit. The Bears have been struggling mightily this season, allowing 29.4 points per game (29th in NFL) and 391 total YPG (27th in league). This includes surrendering 273.7 YPG through the air (T-27th in NFL) and 117.3 YPG on the ground (25th in NFL). This defense thrives on turnovers with five games of 3+ takeaways, but has generated just one turnover in the past two defeats.
The Packers may have a depleted roster, but they continue to win games. Last week they won in Minnesota behind 285 yards and two touchdowns from QB Aaron Rodgers. The star signal caller has dominated the Bears in his career, going 8-2 with 249 passing YPG, 19 TD and just 6 INT in 10 meetings. Second-year WR Jarrett Boykin has stepped up in the absence of injured WRs James Jones and Randall Cobb, catching 13 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks for Green Bay. RB Eddie Lacy has also been a monster on the ground for the Packers averaging 98.8 rushing YPG on 4.1 YPC over the past four weeks with two touchdowns in that span. He has really opened up the passing game for Rodgers as he is adding a running threat the team hasnt had in years. Not to be overlooked is a Green Bay defense that continues to be outstanding, specifically on the ground. The defense has allowed just 83.6 rushing YPG (4th in NFL) and limited Vikings star RB Adrian Peterson to 60 yards on the ground last week. Although top pass rusher, OLB Clay Matthews, remains out with a thumb injury, the Packers have still generated 20 sacks over the past five games. But not all has been positive for Green Bay, as its defense has forced just two turnovers during its four-game win streak, and ranks last in the NFL in red zone defense (71.4percent).
Antonio Smith helmet issue2013-08-22
Evans says Houston Texans running back Ben Tate is crazy for tweeting in defense of teammate Antonio Smith. Heath believes there is no place for the type of behavior Smith exhibited with Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito. Sharper says if Smith made contact it could have killed Incognito. Evans is disappointed that Smith will be suspended for only one regular-season game in addition to the two remaining preseason games.
Dolphins willing to meet Branden Albert's demands2013-04-25
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Dolphins are willing to meet Albert's asking price, that being a contract similar to the six-year, $53.4 million contract extension signed by Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown last summer.
This stands in contrast to a recent report by Yahoo! Sports that stated the Dolphins and Albert wouldn't be a match unless his price "comes down significantly."
If the financial end is taken care of, only compensation between the teams is left to be worked out. The Chiefs want a second-round pick. The Dolphins own two (at No. 42 and No. 54).
If the Chiefs are willing to take the later pick, we should have ourselves a deal.
NFL draft trades that make too much sense to happen2013-04-23
Here are some trades that make so much sense, they probably won't happen.
1. San Diego Chargers trade up with Cleveland Browns to grab Lane Johnson: NFL.com's Albert Breer wrote Tuesday how the Cleveland Browns are dying to trade down. The Chargers are desperate to get a tackle, but they know Johnson is not going to fall to them. Heck, Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker may not fall to San Diego.
Trading up five spots would allow San Diego to get their man without having to give up too much.
2. Miami Dolphins acquire Branden Albert for a second-round pick: NFL.com's Ian Rapoport notes that the Dolphins are prepared to pay Albert the going price for an above-average tackle: More than $8 million per season. We're only surprised that people are surprised about this. What did they think Albert was going to cost?
Albert is due nearly $10 million as a franchise player. Jake Long was paid more than $8 million per season by the St. Louis Rams. There's no reason to think Albert would get paid less than Long; he's coming off a better season.
This is a win-now year for Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland. He will probably wait to see how the first round shakes out at tackle, but using a second-round pick on a starting left tackle that would push Jonathan Martin back to the right side makes a lot of sense.
3. Denver Broncos acquire Trent Cole from the Philadelphia Eagles: Yes, this one is fantasy football. It's hard to imagine it happening because Cole has a big cap figure, but it makes a ton of sense. Denver still needs another pass rusher after the fax fiasco with Elvis Dumervil, and Cole is not really a fit for Philly's new 3-4 approach.
4. New York Jets acquire running back Chris Ivory from New Orleans Saints for fifth-round pick: This one may actually happen. The Jets are not going to do any better with a late-round pick than the powerful, quietly explosive reserve in New Orleans. We're just not sure why the Saints are in such a hurry to trade a player that often looks better than former first-round pick Mark Ingram.
5. Buffalo Bills trade up with Minnesota at No. 25 to draft Ryan Nassib: There's a growing belief that Buffalo will just take a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick. That still doesn't make sense for value, but trading back into the first round from No. 41 to Minnesota's No. 25 pick could work.
The Vikings have two first-round picks and seem ready to move. It wouldn't be that shocking if Nassib, not Geno Smith, was the first quarterback taken on Thursday. Perhaps he'll be the only quarterback taken Thursday.
2013 Kentucky Derby Odds2013-03-10
Kentucky Derby week is one of the most thrilling times of the year. This race is known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate time length.
Check 2013 KY Derby Schedule May 3 and 4 at Sportsbook.com
2013 March Madness Bracket2013-02-22$100K MARCH MADNESS BRACKET CONTEST
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Get a $100 Free Bet - Paid Cash - No rollovers2013-01-30