Buffalo Bills (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs.Chicago Bears (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date and Time: Sunday, September 7, 1:00pm
Where: Soldier Field - Chicago, IL
by Bob, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BUF +7/CHI -7
Over/Under Total: 47.5
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Tune in this Sunday at 1:00pm to see the Buffalo Bills travel into Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. Neither of these two teams made the post season last year, but Chicago appears to be the one closest to getting over that hump in 2014. The line opens with the Bears as a 7 point home favorite while the total points are set at 47.5. The last time we saw the Bills and Bears face off, was all the way back in 2010, when the Bears took down Buffalo 22-19. That game has nothing to do with this one. Many pieces of each roster has changed in a major way. Lets take a closer look at this contest to see who the best play will be.
The Chicago Bears finished last season with a record of 8-8 and they missed the post season. Their 2-4 record against division rivals was a huge part of their letdown, but lets also not forget that there was a few weeks when starting QB, Jay Cutler was out due to injury. Chicago did a good job in the passing game. As an organization, they finished 5th in the NFL in passing, averaging over 267 yards a game in the air. As for the Bears run game, they finished right in the middle of the pack, gaining 114 yards a game. The rushing attack was led by Matt Forte, who gained over 1,300 yards on the ground. The Bears offense was not bad, the one glaring hole they had as a team, was the rushing defense. Chicago was the worst rushing defense in the entire NFL (Ranked 32nd). The Bears gave up an average of 161 yards per game on the ground, and what makes this even worse is that 4 of their games, (2 versus Green Bay and 2 versus Detroit) were teams in their division that are primarily pass first teams. If Chicago wants to improve on that 8-8 record, and make a run to the playoffs in 2014, the rushing defense will have to get better. With Jay Cutler and Mat Forte at full strength, and with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery catching passes, this Chicago offense will be dangerous. I like them to put up a lot of points this year.
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The Buffalo Bills are going to need to improve tremendously to get themselves back in AFC contention. The one thing that sticks out to me about this team is that statistically they are not that bad. Led by running back, CJ Spiller, they had the 2nd best rushing attack in all of the NFL. In 2013, Spiller had to split time with Fred Jackson, and the two combined for 1,700 rushing. This year, in 2014, CJ will get most of the carries and I see an even more explosive attack on the ground. The passing game for Buffalo is their weakest spot. Led by EJ Manuel, they ranked just 28th in the NFL, not even getting 200 yards a game in the air. The Bills defense is reversed, whereas the offense has a great run attack, and bad pass attack, the run defense is bad, and pass defense ranks among the leagues best. The Buffalo run defense was ranked 28th in all of the NFL last season, while their pass defense locked teams down ranking 5th. In the offseason, the Bills did add some pieces that they thought could help them. They drafted the old college teammate of Spiller, Sammy Watkins, to come in and play some wide receiver. Watkins is the style player they are hoping allows EJ Manuel to improve his passing game. In the second round of the draft, they added another piece on the offensive side of the ball with Alabama offensive lineman, Cyrus Kouandijo. Buffalo made moves to improve the offense, now lets just see if it all comes together.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Chicago is a home favorite and is favored by an entire touchdown (7 points) over the Bills. One thing I would like to point out about last season is that even though Buffalo had a bad record, three of their losses came late in the game and by less than 4 points. Buffalo was very competitive all season, they just needed to find ways to close out teams. I believe an extra year of maturity will help with this. 7 points in an NFL game is a lot to lay. Not only that, but I see that over 70% of bettors are liking the Bears to cover the spread. I rarely ever take a favorite in the NFL that is laying more than 4 points, and I am not changing that today. Take the Bills to keep this game close and lose by a heartbreaking 24-20 score to the Bears. I also like the total points to stay under the 47.5. PICK THE BUFFALO BILLS +7 and UNDER THE TOTAL POINTS!