Chicago Bears (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CHI +11/KC -11
Over/Under Total: 45
In a battle of 1-3 teams, the Chicago Bears come into Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs. Chicago took a hard-earned win over the Raiders on Soldier Field last Sunday, notching their first win of the season, 22-0. Kansas City had a less-productive Sunday, dropping their third straight game in a 36-21 loss to Cincinnati on the road.
Kansas City hasnt had an easy time of it, both in terms of on-the-field breaks and tough scheduling. The season opened well enough, as the Chiefs mauled the Texans in a nice road win. But at home the following week, he roof caved in against Denver. Looking to break a lengthy losing-streak against their division foes, they were up by 7 with 30 seconds left and somehow managed to lose the game in regulation. Then they had to go face Green Bay at Lambeau on MNF and suffered a 38-28 loss. On the short week, they went into Cincinnati to face an unbeaten Bengals team and came up short. Thats a rough stretch of games and theyre already up against it at 1-3. Look for them to be looking for some atonement against beatable Bears bunch at Arrowhead this Sunday.
The Bears got a big boost with QB Jay Cutler shaking off what looked like a bad hamstring injury after missing just one game. His impact was felt, with two touchdown passes and 281 yards passing. Cutler had to overcome the loss of starting center Will Montgomery on the games opening possession, with the replacement almost costing them the game. With two minutes left, Oakland took the lead with a field goal and Cutler calmly got the Bears into position with a Robbie Gould field goal getting the Bears on the board for their first win. Well see if the win pumps some wind into the sails of a Chicago team that had bottomed out the week before with their first shutout loss in 13 years.
The Bears will be facing an irritated Chiefs team that has left at least one win on the table this season. On Sunday, they scored 21 points at Cincinnatiwith 7 field goals comprising all the scoring. Kansas City needs to see their drives through better, with stalled progress killing this offense. In the past two games, Alex Smith has thrown for 676 yards and they havent been in either game. On Sunday, they had over 100 yards on the ground, with Smith throwing for 386 yards. Despite not having major turnover or penalty issues, they couldnt extract a single touchdown out of the equation.
The Chiefs need to get tougher up fronton both sides of the ball. The Bengals pass-rush always seemed to step up when the Chiefs were on the cusp of making something happen. Smith was sacked 5 times and under duress in critical situations for most of the game. But despite the offense not doing enough to get the job done, there are some positive signs. A slow-starting Jamaal Charles looks poised to make his 2015 presence fully felt. Jeremy Maclin and Smith have been connecting with increasing regularity, as Maclin has 19 receptions in the past two weeks. Travis Kelce is still in there doing his thing. Jason Avant is starting to chip in more and more. The offense is beginning to broaden its offensive approach and it could pay off once they get their red-zone problems squared away.
One should exercise some caution by over-focusing on the bottom-line. While both teams are 1-3, Kansas Citys 1-3 rings of more quality. In all those losses, there was a visible path to victory, even if they didnt take it. Three of their 4 games have been on the road, with the last two being as tough as it gets. Meanwhile, Chicago followed a gutty week one loss to the Packers by giving up 48 to Arizona the next week, with a shutout loss in their next game. And beating Oakland is nice, but whens the last time the Raiders won consecutive road games?
Chicago got off to a fast start on Sunday, with Eddie Royal catching a touchdown pass from Cutler, who as a former Bronco, is more familiar with playing in Arrowhead than most NFC quarterbacks. Without leading receiver Alshon Jeffery, he still completed 28 passes, including 11 to TE Martellus Bennett. Matt Forte was effective with 91 yards rushing and 64 receiving. They were a much difference offense with Cutler in there.
After some rough moments this season, the Bears defense was much better on Sunday. They were facing an offense that looked to be peaking, with a streaking QB Derek Carr, a blossoming rookie receiver in Amari Cooper, and a back in Latavius Murray who had hit his stride. None had good games on Sunday against the Bears defense. And with how bad they had looked to start the season, it was a good sign that they were able to step it up, showing they can be quite serviceable when not left out to hang by a non-moving offense. After all, against Seattle the previous week, they had ten drives that led to ten punts. Its just that is seemed like such a costly win in terms of injuries. Their center is out indefinitely. S Antrel Rolle is questionable after hurting his ankle. And it still looks like Alshon Jeffery will still be out.
Things get tougher for the Bears this week in Arrowhead in a game where they are out of their element in facing an AFC West team. Look for an on-point Chiefs team to operate more succinctly with their offense, with Jamaal Charles having a big game, along with Maclin and Kelce. And a home KC defense should rediscover their pass-rushing menace. Cutler and Company will face infinitely more resistance, with the Chiefs placing a lot more emphasis on finishingboth drives and games.
Just as a matter of principle, its dicey to take a team that has lost 3 in a row as a double-digit favorite against a team coming off a win the previous week. We get itthe Chiefs are hungry for a win at home against a beatable Bears team that will be out of their element. They seem due for a big game and it is in fact easy to envision a 37-14 type of beating. On top of that, the number of -11 seems like its almost imploring you to take the Bears, which sends warning signs. With some trepidation, Im taking Chicago.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Chicago Bears plus 11 points.
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