Chicago Bears (4-8, 4-8 ATS) at Green Bay Packers (9-3, 10-2), 8:20 p.m., SNF
Brolley’s Bears Stats and Trends
The Bears are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games.
Chicago is 3-8 toward unders in its last 11 games.
David Montgomery is coming off a monster performance with 21/90/1 rushing and 8/51 receiving in sloppy conditions against the Cardinals. The Bears listed him with an injury to every part of his body this week so his status needs to be monitored this weekend. Khalil Herbert would be the next man up if he can’t go against the Packers. Herbert averaged 21.8 touches and 97.0 scrimmage yards per game in Weeks 5-8 when Montgomery missed action for his knee injury. Herbert managed 19/97/1 rushing and 2/15 rushing in this matchup back in Week 6.
Justin Fields will return to the lineup after missing the last two weeks with a rib injury. He had his two best fantasy performances before Chicago’s Week 10 bye, but he had just four completions for 79 yards when he left in the second half of Week 11 with his rib injury. The rookie has 38+ yards in his last four full games. Fields absorbed four sacks when these teams met in Week 6, and he finished with 174/1 passing and 6/43 rushing.
Darnell Mooney had his four-game run of 12+ FP snapped last week, but he still caught exactly five passes for a third straight game. The problem is those catches went for just 27 yards (5.4 YPR) in sloppy conditions after his previous 10 catches in Weeks 11-12 went for 244 yards (24.4 YPR). Mooney has posted 12+ FP in three of his last four games with Fields at quarterback in Week 6-9, including 5/45/1 receiving on eight targets against the Packers in mid-October.
Cole Kmet has 3+ catches in six of his last seven games after finishing with 3/41 receiving on seven targets (17%) against the Cardinals in Week 13. Jimmy Graham stole a touchdown for a second consecutive game, which gives him two scores on 13 targets while Kmet has yet to score on 64 targets. Kmet has seen 6+ targets in five of his last six games, and he finished with 4/49 receiving five targets against Green Bay in Week 6.
Brolley’s Packers Stats and Trends
Green Bay beat Chicago 24-14 in mid-October as 5.5-point road favorites in a game totaled at 44 points.
The Packers have won outright and covered in five straight games in this series since 2019.
The Packers are the most undervalued 10-2 ATS team with line movement fading them in each of their last five games — they went 4-1 ATS in that stretch.
Green Bay has covered in five straight home games.
The Packers are 7-2 toward unders in their last nine games.
Aaron Rodgers got a week of rest to heal his broken toe, but he’s shown no ill-effects the last two games with 692/6 passing with an 8.8 YPA average and no INTs. He’s scored 20+ FP in seven of his last 10 games, and he’s thrown for 290+ yards in three straight games since coming back from COVID. Rodgers is out to prove he still owns the Bears once again this season after posting 195/2 passing and 7/19/1 rushing against them in Week 6.
Davante Adams has posted double-digit FP in every game this season. He’s reached 100+ yards in consecutive games and he’s hung 6+ catches in five straight games. The last time Adams failed to hit 6+ catches came in Week 6 against the Bears when he posted 4/89 receiving on five targets.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling exploded in Week 11 with 22.3 FP against the Vikings, and he backed it up 4/50 receiving on a team-high nine targets (20% share) against the Rams in Week 12. He’s seen a team-best 19 targets over Green Bay’s last two games, and it looks like Randall Cobb (groin) will miss this week. MVS sat out the first matchup of the season with a hamstring injury, which allowed Allen Lazard to post 3/27/1 receiving against the Bears. The Bears are giving up a generous 14.0 YPR this season.
Aaron Jones returned to the lineup in Week 12 after his one-week absence for a knee injury, but he managed just 10/23 rushing on a 49% snap share. A.J. Dillon had the slight edge in snap share at 51% and a massive edge in effectiveness with 20/69 rushing and 5/21/1 receiving. This split backfield is likely here to stay down the stretch since Dillon is now averaging 5.2 YPT on 155 touches compared to Jones’ 5.1 YPT on 170 touches. Jones posted 17/110/1 scrimmage and Dillon had 11/59 rushing in this matchup back in Week 6.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.5 (13th)
Plays per game: 63.4 (15th)
Pass: 59.1% (22nd) | Run: 40.9% (11th)
Pace: 32.8 (32nd)
Plays per game: 63.4 (16th)
Pass: 59.0% (23rd) | Run: 41.0% (10th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
Hopefully you have plans on Sunday night, because this game might get ugly fast. Packers-Bears has the worst adjusted combined pace on the slate with Green Bay getting to the line of scrimmage slower than every team in the league. Their slow-paced, clock-draining offense combined with a stingier defense has made their games go 8-4 towards unders this season. While their defense got crushed for 31 (vs. Vikings) and 28 (vs. Rams) points against great offenses in their two games before the bye, the markets are not expecting such a performance here. The Bears have the lowest implied total (15.3 points) for Week 14 – which is even lower than the Davis Mills-led Texans (16).
Justin Fields is back, but the Bears are still the Bears and this coaching staff hasn’t given us any reason to be confident in them all year. In Fields’ seven full starts from Weeks 3-9, the Bears managed a TD on just 15.5% of their possessions – which was the fifth-lowest scoring rate in this stretch. This includes their Week 6 game against the Packers where they managed just 14 points.
Green Bay’s ability to build leads and drain the clock has been a cornerstone of their games this year and I see nothing that stands in the way of that changing here.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
David Montgomery is full-go for Week 14. He is another back worthy of serious consideration. GB is allowing 2.17 GTG carries/game (11th-most), 4.3 YPC (14th-most), and a 29% rushing first down rate (third-highest).At WR, you finally have your pick between Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson II – now that he’s finally back in the mix. Mooney will work against Eric Stokes and hold the quality advantage.
It is slightly concerning that Davante Adams is dealing with a hamstring injury (he does not have an injury designation). He was also only able to muster 12.9 FPs against the Bears and Jaylon Johnson in Week 6.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The Bears’ entire offense last week was RB David Montgomery, who is kind of like the rose that grew from concrete in this offense. But he’s still struggling to produce as his usage would indicate. Here’s an extensive breakdown from Scott Barrett from XFP:
“Up until last week, Montgomery was sort of looking like 2020 Miles Sanders. Which is to say, he was no doubt a high-end bell cow, but one with inexplicably low levels of raw production and volume. (Sanders was an all-time outlier in this regard.)
Prior to last week, Montgomery had played on at least 80% of his team’s snaps in 5 of his last 6 healthy games, handling 87% of the backfield XFP over this span. For perspective, only Najee Harris has a snap share over 80%, and he’s also the only RB with a backfield XFP% over 80%. Still, Montgomery ranked just 27th in XFP/G (12.3) and only 28th in FPG (12.6) heading into last week.
In Week 13, Montgomery’s usage was about the same (91% backfield XFP%), but the raw volume and production finally came through. He earned 21 carries, 10 targets, and 7 opportunities inside the red zone. This was good for 29.1 XFP (most by any player at any position in Week 13) and 27.8 fantasy points (2nd-most among RBs). For perspective, 29.1 XFP wasn’t just a season-high, but it was 2.4X more than his season-long average up to that point, and marked just the 2nd time all year he’s exceeded 13.0 XFP.
If you look at Montgomery’s numbers this year, in contrast to last year (without Tarik Cohen), everything looks about the same. He’s seen a lot less work near the end zone (XTD/G), but that can’t really be helped because, simply, the offense is a lot worse this year. The Bears are averaging 1.2 fewer red zone drives per game, and scoring is down by 37%. But, despite that fact, gamescript is just about the same. Chicago has trailed on 56% of their plays this season, after trailing 53% of the time without Cohen last year.
But, the thing is, negative gamescript is an especially massive liability for your fantasy RB if they’re not catching passes. And, for whatever reason, up until last week, Montgomery wasn’t catching passes.
So, it seems, the only meaningful difference between Montgomery’s usage this year and last year is the target volume. And, on that point, his 10 targets last week is highly encouraging. That was 2X high prior season-high (5) and 4X his per-game average up to that point (2.5).
Hopefully this wasn’t a one-week outlier. And, hopefully, Andy Dalton will remain the starter, because Justin Fields has only targeted Montgomery on 7.6% of his throws (in contrast to Dalton’s 10.5%). And mobile QBs historically tend to neglect their RBs in the passing game.
This week will be an important test. Chicago enters as 12.5-point underdogs, and Green Bay ranks top-12 in rushing FPG allowed but bottom-12 in receiving FPG allowed to opposing RBs.”
Justin Fields has been medically cleared to practice and play, but he also indicated that he's not completely pain free yet. Latest details on his ribs injury:https://t.co/pzzb10Mrh7— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) December 8, 2021
Fields as starter is what it is at this point, and my hope is he just doesn’t get broken entirely before he gets a new coach. But it’s also worth pointing out that the Bears’ passing offense has been pretty much worse across the board with Fields playing this year (SIS).
Bears WR Allen Robinson on if he’ll be ready for Sunday: "That’s the plan. Everything is trending in the right direction.”— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) December 9, 2021
I still can’t endorse this receiving group beyond Mooney as an upside-oriented but volatile WR3 — Mooney has been Fields’ favorite receiver this year, catching 29 of 53 targets for 441 yards and 2 TD. There also appears to be an outside chance that All-Pro CB Jaire Alexander (shoulder) plays this week.
Packers CB Jaire Alexander is returning to practice today. First time since his Week 4 shoulder injury. Matt LaFleur said he will do individual drills. His three-week window officially begins.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) December 8, 2021
No go yet for David Bakhtiari or Za'Darius Smith.
One of the big developments of this week for the Packers is that slot WR Randall Cobb (groin) is going to miss significant time with a groin injury.
Matt LaFleur said WR Randall Cobb is "going to be out for a while" with what the Packers said was a core injury.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) December 9, 2021
While rookie Amari Rodgers is a natural slot replacement, LaFleur said Lazard, St. Brown and Adams all could get snaps in that spot.
While coach Matt LaFleur didn’t prescribe any slot reps to deep-threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling, it’s certainly worth noting that QB Aaron Rodgers, while playing through his toe injury, has been targeting MVS with alacrity on the perimeter.
MVS had 19 targets in the Packers’ two games before their bye, posting 8/163/1 receiving. Multiple times this year, it seems like MVS and Rodgers have juuuuuust missed a deep connection, and it’s probably why Rodgers keeps going to the inconsistent but explosive receiver. With targets of 10 and 9 in his last two games, MVS has two of the five highest target performances of his entire career. I like him as an upside-oriented WR3.
The big question most fantasy players will have, though, is how to treat this backfield. And it’s hard to suss out. Aaron Jones somewhat surprisingly was active with his knee injury in Week 12 before the Packers’ bye, but he played a season-low 49% snap share and he was far less effective than AJ Dillon — Jones had 23 yards on 11 opportunities while Dillon posted 90 yards and a touchdown on 25 opportunities. Moreover, it’s Dillon weather:
Nothing says December football like AJ Dillon hitting the sled in a light snowfall pic.twitter.com/QZv7BGs3bA— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) December 9, 2021
I think, until I see Jones become the lead guy again, I will rank Dillon a bit higher, with both guys as RB2s. Jones did, of course, crush the Bears for 110 yards and a touchdown back in Week 6. Both guys have such high upside it’s hard for me to sit them, though they definitely vulture each other.