Both the Bears and Rams figured they’d be contending for the No. 1 seed in the NFC when the season began. Instead, both teams are scratching and clawing to make the playoffs anyway they can. This week’s Sunday Night Football game might serve as an effective elimination game for both franchises.
Each team’s only chance of making the postseason is to win a Wild Card berth. The Rams aren’t going to catch the 49ers to win the NFC West and Chicago doesn’t have the juice to topple the Packers or the Vikings inside their own division. As such, you have to say Los Angeles is in slightly better position with their 5-4 record compared to the Bears’ mark of 4-5.
With that being said, it’s imperative that Los Angeles defend their home turf in this one. Oddsmakers like their chances of winning comfortably. It’s a bit surprising that the Rams are six-point favorites over the Bears considering just how much they’ve struggled this season.
As always, our exclusive Statschecker site is the best place to get all of the information you need before making your final wagers. We’ll give you five nuggets from the site here, but you’re only cheating yourself if you don’t check out the site to see all it has to offer.
- The Bears are bad against the spread
Chicago is one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL this season. That’s why it’s no surprise to learn that their record against the spread stands at just 3-6 on the year. That’s good for 26th place in the league.
Mitchell Trubisky takes a ton of blame when the Bears struggle, and that’s fair criticism. He’s fortunate to play for one of the best offensive minds in the game, but he still can’t find a way to excel in Matt Nagy’s system. The Rams’ defense will like their chances to turn Trubisky over multiple times in this game.
- The Rams are weirdly good against the spread
It would be reasonable to expect the Rams to struggle against the spread as well given how they’ve underachieved. Interestingly, they’re a strong 6-3 against the line this season. That should make you think long and hard about backing Los Angeles at home.
Of course, that requires you to trust Jared Goff at quarterback. He hasn’t been as erratic as Trubisky, but he’s definitely not living up to the massive contract he got this season. His ability to keep this offense on schedule with accurate throws is something to watch closely early in this game.
- Neither team likes the over
Both offenses came into the year expecting to light up scoreboards all around the NFL, but that just hasn’t happened. Instead, each team comes into their Week 11 encounter with an ugly record of 3-6 in terms of hitting the over.
In other words, don’t get caught up in the idea that this is going to turn into some sort of shootout. There are plenty of big names on each offense, but it’s much more likely to devolve into an ugly, defensive affair. This isn’t going to be a work of art despite the bright lights of Sunday Night Football.
- The Rams will struggle to protect Goff
The struggles of Los Angeles’ offensive line have been well documented all season long. Things could get even worse for Sean McVay and his offensive staff this weekend. Both Rob Havenstein and Brian Allen will miss the game. That’s music to the ears of Khalil Mack and his teammates along the Bears’ front seven.
The question for the Rams will be to find out whether or not they can run the ball to take some pressure off of Goff. That might require Todd Gurley to turn back the clock and play like the former MVP candidate he was just a few short seasons ago. The Rams’ inability to protect Goff is another reason to like the under here.
- The Bears can’t ask too much of Trubisky
Chicago’s coaching staff knows they can’t afford to put this game into Trubisky’s hands. Instead, they want to convert him into a game manager as quickly as possible. He only threw 23 passes last week against a depleted Lions squad. Nagy would love to see that number pop up again on Sunday night.
Time to back the Bears
The number is the key here. Six points is just too many for the Rams to be laying given just how beat up their offensive line is. Look for Mack to establish a permanent address in the Rams’ offensive backfield. That’s going to force Goff into costly turnovers.
We’re tempted to advise you to take Chicago on the money line, but in the end we’re going to hedge slightly and just tell you to take them +6. We certainly wouldn’t fault you for going for a big win by taking the Bears straight up, but the prudent play is to back Chicago to cover.