Chicago Bears (3-2 3-2 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2 3-3 ATS) Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 4:15 PM EST Sunday, October 25, 2009 on Fox
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bears +3 / Bengals -3
In big game between a couple of teams that are still in the playoff hunt the Cincinnati Bengals host the Chicago Bears. The Bengals are one of the more surprising teams in the NFL this season, as they are 4-2 and tied with Pittsburgh for 1st place in the AFC North. The Bears really need to win this game, as if they lose they will be .500 and chasing a Wild Card since Minnesota is 6-0 in the NFC North. You would think that the home field advantage would be big, but the Bengals are 3-0 in away games and only 1-2 at home.
In their last game the Bears lost to the Atlanta Falcons 21-14 while the Bengals lost to the Houston Texans 28-17.
In their loss to the Falcons the Bears had more total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, and led in time of possession, but 3 turnovers, 2 of which were in the red zone, killed them. Also in the red zone at the end of the game the Bears were about to score again, but Orlando Pace jumped off-sides on a 4th and 1 at the Cincinnati 5 yard line and they could not covert on the next play. The Bears did not play bad, but it was the turnovers that cost them the game. The Falcons were favored by 4 points in the game so they covered the spread and the posted total of 46.5 points was not reached.
In the Bengals loss to the Texans they simply could not stop Matt Schaub, who threw for a career high 392 yards and 4 TD’s. It also hurt that Cincy turned the ball over 3 times. They did score 17 points in the 2nd quarter, but in the other quarters they were blanked. Cedric Benson came into the game as the NFL rushing leader but in the Texas game he only had 44 yards on 16 carries and I am no math genius, but that is not a good average per carry. The Bengals were favored by 4 points so they obviously did not cover the spread. The posted total of the game was 36.5 so the Over was the good pick since 45 points was scored.
The Bengals have won this season with their well-balanced attack and they need to keep doing that is they are going to make the post season. Cedric Benson was quieted in the loss to Texas and he has to pick up some yards in this game or the Bengals will be in trouble.
The Chicago D ranks 9th in the league and while they are stellar at stopping the run their pass defense is mediocre at best.
The team that can hold onto the ball and cur down on their turnovers gives their team a chance to win. Last week both teams had 3 turnovers and it killed their chances to win.
The Bengals offensive line has given up 11 sacks this season and the Bears have been solid with 14 sacks. The Bengals have to protect Carson Palmer and give him time to find his targets and open up holes for Benson.
Carson Palmer has been legit this season at QB, but he needs some help from Benson, as the loss to Texas showed that Palmer can’t do it all on offense.
Jay Cutler leads a Chicago offense that only ranks 26th in the league. 2nd year RB Matt Forte had over 1,000 yards last season, but he is struggling this season with only 294 yards in 5 games and he is only averaging 3.4 yards per carry.
Cutler may have a big game, as the Bengals’ D only ranks 22nd in the league and their secondary has been torched giving up an average of 254.8 passing yards per game.
If you look at the stats for this game both teams are pretty even in total yards per game and passing yards per game. The Bengals have a big advantage in the running game, but the Bears have played much better defense this season.
In a few trends for this game the Bengals are 3-0 ATS this season as the underdog, are 1-2 ATS at home, and the Bears are 1-2 ATS in away games.
Jason’s Pick: I think the problems at home for the Bengals will continue in this game and Jay Cutler will have a big game against a weak Cincy secondary. The Bears will win this game in a minor upset, as the Bengals’ struggles will continue.