NFL Insider

NFL INSIDER: Dueling QB injuries won't keep Bears, Packers down this Sunday

2013-11-07T20:00:00Z 2013-11-15T01:29:05Z NFL INSIDER: Dueling QB injuries won't keep Bears, Packers down this SundayMatt Erickson NFL Insider nwitimes.com
November 07, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

It could be that quarterback injuries will be the tale of the 2013 season in the NFC North.

Just when it looked like the Bears were headed toward an all-too-familiar collapse with injuries as the backdrop taking the brunt of the blame, they managed to catch a break last week when the Packers' Aaron Rodgers went down early.

Sure, had Rodgers played the whole game, maybe the Bears still would've been able to do what they did for the upset – by in some ways playing better than they have all season. But Rodgers in the game probably would've been a different story, especially in a close game.

The result of this all is a three-way tie atop the NFC North halfway through the season with the Bears, Packers and Lions all 5-3. We don't even need to mention the Vikings at this point. Clearly, Sunday's Bears-Lions game is a crucial one, especially given the Bears' loss in Detroit a few weeks back.

Now is obviously the time for the Bears to take advantage of Rodgers being out in Green Bay. But regardless of what happens four hours north, the Bears have to win their games first. Even if Jay Cutler has to sit out again this week, the Bears must feel plenty comfortable knowing that Josh McCown can take the reins quite capably.

I think the Bears squeak one out this week – as will the Packers – to keep things tight.

Detroit (5-3) pick'em (52) at BEARS (5-3)

MattE's pick: Bears 31, Lions 27

St. Louis (3-6) +9.5 (43.5) at COLTS (6-2)

MattE's pick: Colts 37, Rams 13

Philadelphia (4-5) +1 (47) at Green Bay (5-3)

MattE's pick: Packers 27, Eagles 23

Seattle (8-1) -5.5 (44.5) at Atlanta (2-6)

MattE's pick: Seahawks 27, Falcons 20

Buffalo (3-6) +3 (43.5) at Pittsburgh (2-6)

MattE's pick: Steelers 24, Bills 17

Cincinnati (6-3) -1.5 (44) at Baltimore (3-5)

MattE's pick: Bengals 26, Ravens 23

Jacksonville (0-8) +12 (41) at Tennessee (4-4)

MattE's pick: Titans 31, Jaguars 13

Oakland (3-5) +7 (43.5) at N.Y. Giants (2-6)

MattE's pick: Giants 31, Raiders 20

Carolina (5-3) +6 (42.5) at San Francisco (6-2)

MattE's pick: 49ers 27, Panthers 23

Denver (7-1) -7 (58.5) at San Diego (4-4)

MattE's pick: Broncos 44, Chargers 27

Houston (2-6) +3 (41) at Arizona (4-4)

MattE's pick: Cardinals 26, Texans 20

Dallas (5-4) +6.5 (54) at New Orleans (6-2)

MattE's pick: Saints 34, Cowboys 31

Miami (4-4) -2.5 (41.5) at Tampa Bay (0-8)

MattE's pick: Dolphins 27, Bucs 20

Last week: 8-5 straight up, 6-7 against the spread. Season: 85-47 (.644) straight up, 67-62-4 (.519) against the spread.

-- Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times for 12 seasons. He covers mixed martial arts for The Times and is assistant MMA editor for USA Today and MMAjunkie.com.

Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times for 12 seasons. He covers mixed martial arts for The Times and is assistant MMA editor for USA Today and MMAjunkie.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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