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NFC North: Week 11 Preview and Point Spreads

The NFC North got shaken up badly last week when Jay Cutler sustained a concussion against the Houston Texans and his team went on to lose, dropping to 7-2. The Green Bay Packers are rapidly gathering steam, and now sit at 6-3. They’re coming off a bye week, and are actually healthier than they were at the beginning of the season, a troubling sign for a team like the Bears that is sustaining injuries left and right. Detroit, meanwhile, had a two game winning streak come to a brutal end in Minnesota during a 34-24 loss in which Adrian Peterson ran wild, racking up 171 yards and furthering his case as league MVP. The Vikes have a bye this week, but the rest of the teams are gassed up and ready to go, including a big divisional match between the Pack and the Lions. Let’s take a look at this week’s point spreads.

Green Bay Packers (-3) at Detroit Lions, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

After a sluggish start, the Packers seem to be getting the ball rolling once again, and now sit a game back from the Bears for the division lead. The Lions defense is extremely vulnerable, and the Packers expect to get back star wide receiver Greg Jennings and possibly Jordy Nelson as well. For all the heat Aaron Rodgers took at the beginning of the year, his passer rating is 107.4, good for second in the league behind Peyton Manning, and he has thrown for 25 touchdowns, tied with Drew Brees for the league lead. Add it up and this could be a long day for Detroit’s subpar secondary.

“We’ve had some adversity early in the season. We’ve come together, we’ve taken some heat and it’s brought us closer together,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who, if we can have back in the mix, we can really take off.”

Even though the Packers still have some key guys out due to injury (they put tackle Brian Bulaga on injured reserve this week), I think they easily roll the Lions here. Look for them to win by a touchdown at least.

Chicago Bears (+7) at San Francisco 49ers, Monday, 8:30 p.m. EST

This would have been on the marquee matchups in the league just last week, until both Alex Smith and Jay Cutler sustained concussions last weekend. Smith has been cleared to play, but it looks like Cutler is out. His backup, Jason Campbell, will step in against this ferocious San Francisco defense.

“He’s comfortable in the pocket, comfortable calling the plays,” center Roberto Garza said. “Look at his track record. That speaks for itself. There’s a reason why he’s here, and there’s a reason why he’s in the situation he’s in. He probably should be starting somewhere. He’s that type of player. Unfortunately, we’re in this situation, but he’s gonna step in there.”

I think Campbell is a competent quarterback, but he doesn’t have the juice necessary to take down this D. But I still like the Bears at +7. It’s not like their defense all sustained concussions, too, and that unit was the strength of this team in the first place. The Bears only give up around 300 yards a game, and have gotten 20 turnovers so far this year. I love them to stymie the 49ers here and keep it within a field goal score at the end. Take the Bears at +7 here.

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