Chicago Bears (3-9 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7 SU, 7-5 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CHI +6/CIN -6
Over/Under Total: 37.5
The Chicago Bears take on the Cincinnati Bengals in week 14 action from Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. Neither team had a particularly good time of it last week. The Bears lost at home to the 49ers, a bad development for a team that is now on a five-game losing stretch. They now take to the road to face a 5-7 Bengals bunch coming off a MNF loss to the Steelers. After leading 17-0, they faded in the second half, with a Steelers FG with time running out spoiling a chance to get to .500. Who can get the job done this week in Cincinnati?
The Bengals were in a costly and exhausting game on Monday, making you wonder if that will give the Bears an edge on Sunday. Cincinnati really blew it, committing penalties to the tune of 173 yards and continuing a troubling trend of allowing points at the end of halves. It looked like they were in control of the action before melting late. It would have been a big game for the Bengals to win. Now they have to turn around at 5-7 on the short week against a team they rarely play. Well see what they come up with this week, but with seven losses and now out of contention, its hard to keep finding reasons to get really fired-up.
The Cincy offense had some good things happen, especially early against a good Steelers defense on MNF. They lost Joe Mixon with a concussion in the first half. Giovani Bernard was able to step in and deliver a useful 77 yards on the ground. AJ Green caught two touchdowns in the first half, as the offense looked like they meant business. But a second-half with only a field goal worth of scoring was the main contributing factor in the loss. Andy Dalton had an efficient-enough game, with two TD throws on 234 yards passing, but he couldnt deliver the decisive drive in the second half in a game they needed to have.
The Cincinnati D is by no means a bad defense. Despite all the team issues, theyve managed to be somewhat-resolute and are allowing less than 20 points a game. Still, there have been several times this season when a minimum of late-game clutch would have turned close losses into wins. With less than 4 minutes left in the game against the Steelers, they were up by ten and didnt get the job done. Thats what speaks loudest. Granted, the Steelers are tough and have shown a flair for late-game dramatics, but its unbefitting for a defense that has a lot of ability. On Monday, Vontaze Burfict suffered a bad injury and his absence takes away a big playmaking component. They made some good plays with Adam Jones getting an interception and DE Carlos Dunlap getting after Roethlisberger. Jones, however, had to leave the game with a groin injury and his status is iffy for this week. They hope to get a more-compete 60-minute performance this week at home against the incoming Bears.
The Bears were showing some toughness, but have grown more-weary and less-effective over the course of the season. A home loss last Sunday to the 49ers, where a 1-win San Francisco team kicked a field goal with a few seconds left to win paints a bad image. Seven of Chicagos 14 points came on a punt-return for a touchdown by Tarik Cohen, as the offense has grown fairly stagnant, ranked last in the league in total yardage. An otherwise solid defense is forced to languish with the other side of the ball unable to gain a foothold. They look to snap a five-game losing streak this week.
One can see the early signs of some good things on the Chicago offense, but it hasnt really been enough to cut the mustard this season. A lot of that can be attributed to injuries, with all their relevant aerial components lost to injury. RB Jordan Howard is fifth in the league with 885 yards, but 38 yards on 13 carries against a road 49ers defense on Sunday was a letdown. Rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky is handcuffed by a lack of tools around him and even by those standards, he has been a letdown in a lot of games from a passing perspective, with exceptionally-low totals like the 102 yards he had on Sunday against the 49ers. They just dont have the horses on this side of the ball and if defenses can contain Howard, theyll usually be in pretty good shape. Against a Bengals run-defense that has been leaky more often than not this season, maybe Howard can be the decisive factor in this game.
The Chicago defense has done well this season just to be an average group. They arent always terribly impactful, though they have been on occasion with some big plays over the course of the season. They have a bulk of their venom on this side of the ball on IR and having those voids has been costly. Even so, theyve still held up decently. They did keep San Francisco out of the end zone on Sunday, but the late drive by the 49ers led to another close loss. Four of the five losses in this latest streak have been one-score games.
Either side of this bet requires some optimism where its not easy to be so positive. One could see the Bears running the ball well this week against a Bengals team coming off a disheartening loss on the short week. But even with all their failings, the Bengals have been the more-reliable football product and are more-equipped when it comes to being able to put up points. I just think the Bears are going to be fresher and might be able to catch the Bengals by surprise.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Chicago Bears plus 6 points. Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% bonus up to $250 at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted betting sites: BOVADA