Sunday Night Football Week 14 Preview and Prediction: Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 14 of the NFL season on Sunday Night Football. Ben Gretch Makes his Pick
Ben Gretch |
Sat, December 11, 2:02 PM EST | 4 min read
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Sunday Night Football Week 14 Preview and Prediction: Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, December 12

Time: 8:20 PM ET

Where to Watch: NBC

  • Key Stat: Chicago ranks 24th and Green Bay ranks 27th in situation-neutral time to snap, making them both among the slower-paced offenses in the NFL, per Football Outsiders

Click Here For Packers vs Bears Odds

Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears Prediction

Justin Fields will take back over for the Bears in Week 14 as they head to Lambeau Field for a game that is expected to be cold with a little wind, but with a low chance for precipitation and overall reasonable weather for December in Green Bay. The big question for Fields will be whether the Bears are willing to call more passing plays with him in the game — for the season, Chicago has had Andy Dalton drop back for a pass play on 64.5% of his 265 snaps, while Fields has dropped back on just 53.5% of his 500 snaps.

On its face, that seems like trying to protect the rookie by calling a more run-heavy game when he’s under center. The issue lies in what we know about passing efficiency, specifically with stats like early-down passing and the classifications of obvious and non-obvious passing situations. When the Bears elect to call more running plays with him under center, those largely come from neutral situations like 1st-and-10, meaning he’s still tasked with making plays through the air in the more difficult situations like 3rd-and-long or late in games with a negative script, where the common refrain is defensive lines can pin their ears back and get after the passer without needing to worry about the run.

That’s made Fields a hot-button topic here in 2021, because while his play has not been great, some, like myself, fall into the camp that the Bears’ coaching staff is asking him to do the more difficult parts of quarterbacking — in a system that isn’t necessarily fit to his skill set — without putting him in enough positions for the easy lay-up completions that would not only help him out statistically but may help to build a rhythm for a passer.

There have been positive signs for Fields this year, like solid numbers from clean pockets. He was slow out of the gate, and lost 24-14 against these Packers back in Week 6 in a game in which Chicago threw just 27 passes. His performance here on Sunday night will be a major factor on this game in which the Packers are currently favored by 12 or 12.5 and the total sits at just 43.

On the other side, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Nagy have answered questions this week about Rodgers’ infamous “I own you” celebration in the last meeting of these teams. When asked if his team was using it as bulletin board material, Nagy said, “We’re aware of it.” Later in the week, Rodgers, for his part, said, “I don't know if you can question a whole lot of what I said.” You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Rodgers isn’t going to have a big game Sunday night, even without tackle David Bakhtiari and wide receiver Randall Cobb, and I’m among those who buys the Packers will put up plenty of points at home.

Call me crazy, but my play for the game is the over. Both teams operate at a slow pace, and Nagy will probably call another run-heavy game en route to a loss — especially with Fields perhaps not at 100% after his rib injury. But David Montgomery has run the ball well lately, and I have faith in Fields to take advantage of the passing opportunities he gets, or to hopefully create some plays with his legs, which he did more of in the weeks before his injury relative to his first few starts.

Rodgers and the Packers are going to score points, and perhaps 30 or more, so the question of the 43-point over/under may be whether the Bears can get to 17 or so. The Packers have ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing success rate against for the season, and 20th against the pass, so they don’t pose an insurmountable defensive challenge. I like those odds.

Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears Pick

Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.

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