SNF Picks: Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams
Chicago Bears (4-5 SU, 3-6 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Rams(5-4 SU, 6-3 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, November 17, 8:20 PM EST
Where: Los Angeles Coliseum
Point Spread: Chi +7 / LAR -7 (Sportbet)
Over/Under Total: 42
The Chicago Bears visit the City of Angels on Sunday Night for a battle with the Rams pitting 2 of the most disappointing teams in 2019. The Sportsbooks have made LA 7 point favorites in this contest and set the total at 42, and we’ll gladly take the 7 points with the Road Dog Bears. Here are three reasons.
The Rams Are Frauds
Sean McVay brought his team into 2019 off their Super Bowl loss with expectations of another deep playoff run and hoped to hoist the Lombardi Trophy after this year’s big game. Instead, the Rams have been exposed as a team with a great coach and offensive scheme that can’t be run behind their weak offensive line and a defense that has a couple of superstars but is just an average unit. If you didn’t believe this before last week’s loss in Pittsburgh, you should believe it now. Even the brilliant offensive mind of McVay couldn’t create yards and points against the strong Steeler defense. They managed only 88 yards on the ground and converted only 1 out of 14 third downs. In the 4th quarter, LA had the ball with opportunities to drive the field and win the game, but QB Jared Goff couldn’t lead the game-winning drive. Goff and Todd Gurley take the brunt of the blame for the Ram regression, but the offensive line is where it all starts. Goff has been sacked only 16 times on the year but is constantly under pressure. Goff is a capable quarterback when he has time, but he can’t deal with a muddy pocket, which is the primary reason he has thrown nine picks against 11 touchdowns on the year. The recent absence of Brandin Cooks has also been a negative for the Rams, and will again be the case again in week 11. Gurley has gone from a top 2 or 3 running back in the league to a guy getting a dozen carries a game that has no burst and strikes little fear in opposing defensive coordinator’s hearts.
If we look back to where the Ram demise started, it was 2018 week 14 in Chicago against the Bears. LA came in flying high and left a wounded pup. Chicago manhandled the Ram offensive line, stymied Gurley, and shut down Goff. The Bears held the Ram offense to 6 points on only 214 yards. This year’s Bear D is not as imposing as last year’s was, with the loss of Akiem Hicks hurting the defensive line. However, the Bear D line is as good as the Steeler line that owned the Rams last week. Chicago is 4th in the league and has only allowed 4.9 yards per play, which has generated only 17 points per game for Bear opponents. It is much more likely this week that Gurley is held under 25 yards than this is the game than he busts out and goes over 100. Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd should be in Goff’s face every time he drops back, creating opportunities for the Bears secondary to make turnovers and possibly create a defensive score. Look for the Bears to win the battles and the war when their defense is on the field. The critical question becomes, what can Chicago do when they have the ball.
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The Bears Offense Stinks
If the Rams are frauds, how are the Bears any different? I think the main difference is while the Rams still hold the reputation of a contender, everyone knows the Bear offense is an embarrassment to the NFL in 2019. QB Mitch Trubisky will be the worst quarterback starting this week that would have a chance to be a starting QB in 2020. I could list stats of Trubisky’s being bottom of the league in passer rating, passing yards per attempt or many other stats, but this would just be piling on the many sources pointing out the woes of Trubisky. Fortunately for Chicago, coach Matt Nagy knows what he has in Trubisky and is doing his best to compensate. Chicago has dedicated themselves to running the ball with rookie David Montgomery averaging 78 yards per game over the last three contests. Nagy has also schemed to get playmaker Tarik Cohen the ball in space. This has had limited success but did work last week as Cohen scored on a well-designed flare pass. Nagy’s capability as a coach is hard to judge with Trubisky’s limitation, and the Bears own a porous offensive line. If Nagy can keep the offense on schedule, they could have some marginal success against the Ram defense.
Wade Phillips runs the LA defense and is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL. But the defense wasn’t the strength of the team during last year’s Super Bowl run and is not taking over games against good teams while the offense struggles. LA is 13th in the league at 5.0 yards per play allowed and averages giving up 21 points per game. Aaron Donald is still the premier defensive player in the league, but there is only so much a defensive tackle can do. LA has only 26 sacks and six interceptions, meaning the defense can’t win a game on their own. Chicago is not going to light up the LA sky against the Ram defense, but if they can manage 14 points, it should be enough to keep the game within a touchdown and give Chicago a chance to win.
There Is Line Value with Chicago
If this game had been played in week 1, LA would have been considered the slightly better team, and with 2 or 3 points for home field, the line would have floated around LA -4. The market has correctly downgraded Chicago, but for some reason, refuse to see the Rams for what they are – even after a miserable showing last Sunday. This Bears team is a mirror image of the Steeler team that LA was laying 4.5 points to in Pittsburgh last week. Those teams were dead even in a game that was decided by which team made the most mistakes and which team took advantage of those mistakes. LA did nothing last week to give the impression they can create and execute a game plan to win a game against a team with a strong defense by more than a touchdown. There will be some narrative that Goff will be better at home, but Goff’s performance correlates to the amount of time he has to throw, which should be the same this week against Chicago as last week against Pittsburgh.
Play the Road Dogs +7
It’s difficult to invest your hard-earned money in Mitch Trubisky Inc, but that is the play this week. The Bear defense will be the best unit on the field this week, should keep the game close and give Chicago a chance to steal a win on Sunday Night Football.