Thursday Matchup Edge (GB vs. CHI)

Green Bay vs. Chicago

Open: 45.5 O/U, GB -7
Press time: 44 O/U, GB-7

Aaron Rodgers at home is usually a lock, both in regard to elite expected fantasy output, as well as a Packers victory. The latter seems a safe enough bet, but can Rodgers put up elite fantasy numbers against an underrated defense when both of his starting tackles are out? What about if the backup tackles are also out?

You never want to bet against Rodgers at home, or anywhere else really, but this might be a tougher test than most take it for at a glance. The Bengals collapsed the left side of the Green Bay line, specifically replacement left tackle Kyle Murphy, almost every play Sunday. Murphy is out now, and while he was so bad it’s hard to imagine his replacement being worse, perhaps that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Either way, the absence of right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who did play last week, means we might see collapses on both sides of the offensive line. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is capable of such things, and Leonard Floyd probably gets his first sack of the season in this one.

Jordy Nelson showed no ill effects of his quadriceps injury last week, and Randall Cobb’s presumed return from a shoulder issue is further reassurance to Rodgers. With the tackle personnel depleted against an aggressive defense, Cobb should get usage as the Packers scheme to get the ball away quickly. Davante Adams should also see a healthy number of quick looks. If the Green Bay running game struggles like I expect it to, all three of Green Bay’s top wideouts could see 10 targets in this one. Martellus Bennett could get open up the seams if they use him there, but they also might need him to block much more than usual.

The Packers will presumably get some combination of Jamaal Williams and Aaron Ripkowski involved more often to rest Ty Montgomery, who looked a bit sluggish against Cincinnati on Sunday. Montgomery has played more snaps than any running back in the league – 204 in three games, which is 31 more snaps than the next closest player, Le’Veon Bell. If Montgomery isn’t exhausted then he’s superhuman. Montgomery tore up the Bears last year, but today’s Montgomery is probably fatigued in comparison.

Jordan Howard reiterated his status as one of the league’s top pure runners last week, pummeling the Steelers repeatedly despite a sore shoulder. After such physical running, is four days enough time for Howard to catch his breath and get his shoulder right for more beating? We’ll find out, and Tarik Cohen will soak up most of the usage otherwise. A return for Green Bay defensive lineman Mike Daniels (hip) would make their task more difficult.

Mike Glennon’s time as starter is almost up, but this battered Packers team should hope the Bears wait until next week to make the change. A Mitchell Trubisky rally after halftime is more likely than Glennon engineering a lead over four quarters.

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(line data from covers.com)