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Packers open up as 2.5-point favorites vs Bears

The Bears still suck.

SPORTS-FBN-WIEDERER-COLUMN-TB Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A once proud rivalry has now turned into an exhibition that determines draft position. If the season ended today, the Chicago Bears would have the second overall pick in the 2023 draft while the Green Bay Packers would have the ninth. According to DraftKings, the Packers have opened up as 2.5-point favorites at Soldier Field this week as they attempt to keep their slim playoff hopes alive against the Bears.

Based on the -140 moneyline, there’s an implied probability that Green Bay wins this game 58 percent of the time. According to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL model, the Packers’ playoff chances jump up to six percent (from three percent) with a win against Chicago but could drop down to as low as one-half of a percent with a loss. It’s not possible for Green Bay to be mathematically eliminated from the postseason race this week, which is important in the context of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his status for the remainder of this season.

Rodgers has been playing with a thumb injury since his Hail Mary attempt in London against the New York Giants, but a new injury ended up getting him pulled out of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Officially reported as an oblique injury, Rodgers initially believed he either had a punctured lung or a broken rib versus the Eagles but X-rays were inconclusive when he was sent into the locker room during the game. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Rodgers will undergo an MRI and CTE scan to attempt to identify the injury.

After the loss to the Eagles, Rodgers stated that he will only sit out games for non-injury reasons if the Packers are mathematically eliminated in the playoff race, which probably won’t happen for at least another two weeks. Until then, expect him to push through injuries if he’s cleared by the medical staff.

Rodgers was replaced by former first-round pick Jordan Love, who completed six of nine passes for 113 yards and a touchdown off the bench against Philadelphia. Chicago also has question marks at their quarterback position as Justin Fields (shoulder) missed last week’s game against the New York Jets. According to Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, Fields is day-to-day and is getting better but was unable to protect himself last week.

In Fields’ place, Trevor Siemian got the nod to start despite injuring himself in pre-game warmups. The Bears lost to the Jets by a score of 31-10 and Siemian went 14-of-25 for 179 yards, one touchdown, one interception and two sacks.

For what it’s worth, the Packers have a chance to tie the Bears in all-time franchise wins in this game. Last year, Rodgers screamed “I own you” at the home crowd in Chicago. It’s probably not lost on him the impact of this game from a historical standpoint.