Baltimore Ravens (4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (5-4 SU, 2-6-1 ATS)
NFL Football Week 11
Date and Time: Sunday November 17th, 2013. 1PM Eastern
Where: Soldier Field Chicago, I.L.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bal +3/CHI -3
Over/Under Total: 46
The Chicago Bears took several blows last week in their
21-19 loss against Detroit. Not only did the loss drop the Bears to a tie
with Green Bay for the no. 2 spot in the NFC North behind Detroit, but the
Bears also lost quarterback Jay Cutler for several weeks with a high ankle
sprain. While Cutler has missed time already this season, the 5-4 Bears
desperately need to start racking up victories in order to improve their
chances of making the playoffs. Chicago has lost 4 of their last 6 games
and cannot afford many more setbacks. Without Cutler, the Bears will turn
to backup Josh McCown to turn the momentum around. Chicago will get their
opportunity to bounce back this Sunday when they meet the Baltimore
Ravens at Soldier Field.
The Bears will enter this Sunday’s match-up as 3 point favorites over the 4-5 Ravens. Chicago has not exactly produced as favorites this season going 1-4 against the spread. However Baltimore has not been much better going 1-2 ATS as underdogs and 1-4 ATS on the road. The defending Super Bowl Champions nearly tried to give away a victory last week to Cincinnati. After giving up an embarrassing Hail Mary to force overtime, the Ravens rebounded with a 46 yard game winning field goal from Justin Tucker. While the Ravens are only two games back in the AFC North, they have some really tough games remaining on their schedule and victories may become scarce especially if the offense continues to struggle.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco continued to struggle last week by completing 20 of 36 passing for 140 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 picks. It was the 2nd straight week Flacco posted horrible numbers and appeared completely off of his game. Opposing defenses have focused on stopping the run this season and needless to say it has worked. Running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce both have less than 300 yards rushing while averaging a pitiful 2.5 yards per touch. Unless Flacco proves that he can make defenses pay for stacking the box against the run, I would not expect much improvement from the rushing unit.
Luckily Baltimore’s defense has been reliable this season and has kept the team competitive. Outside of Peyton Manning and the Broncos, no other team has scored more than 24 points against the Ravens. Considering the Bears will be without Cutler, it would not be surprising to see this game stay rather low in terms of scoring. That is not to assume Josh McCown cannot get the job done as he is capable. Additionally, the Bears have plenty of dangerous weapons from WR Brandon Marshall, TE Martellus Bennett, and the emerging threat of WR Alshon Jeffery. Oh and don’t let me forget Matt Forte who has already eclipsed 1,000 all-purpose yards with 9 touchdowns.
Considering the weapons Chicago has on offense, it appears the Bears should be a bigger favorite this week if you factor in the Ravens recent struggles on offense. Still, Chicago has not been extremely impressive on defense ranking 27th in the NFL giving up 27.4 points per game. If the defense allows another big number Sunday, it will definitely make things harder for McCown if he is forced to play from behind. The Bears currently own the 2nd best turnover ratio in the NFC at +8 (20 takeaways, 12 giveaways) but that could change quickly if Baltimore can get some early points this Sunday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I have a lean towards Chicago in this game but I just cannot pull the trigger. Flacco is bound to bounce back soon and Chicago has been terrible for bettors this season going 2-6-1 ATS. Instead I believe the best play in this game is the under 46. Not only has Baltimore went under the total in 7 of their 9 games this season, but the Bears seem to play a bit better defense at home as well. Take the under 46!