- Chicago has covered the spread in 4 of their last 5 games as underdogs
A beleaguered Titans defense – one that's surrendered an average of more than 30 points per game over the past three weeks – may have finally found an offense that won't overwhelm it in that of the Bears.
The Titans were plundered once again last week in Cincinnati, allowing Joe Burrow and the Bengals more than 36 minutes of possession time in a 31-20 loss. Tennessee's third-down defense is far-and-away the league's worst, letting opponents convert more than 60 percent of the time.
So a Chicago team with the league's 29th-ranked overall offense, one that's averaged just 17.4 points per contest over the season's last five weeks, should be a welcome relief. The Titans' porous secondary may also get a couple of upgrades this week, if recent trade acquisition Desmond King (slot corner) can get up to speed quickly, and if starting cornerback Adoree Jackson (knee inj.) is activated for the first time this season.
If the Titans' high-scoring offense was performing as potently as it was earlier this season, I might be inclined to pick Tennessee to cover the six-point spread. But the Titans have come back to earth a bit offensively over the past couple of weeks, slowed by Pittsburgh and troubled by mistakes and a key turnover against Cincinnati. The thought of Khalil Mack going head to head with either of the Tennessee tackles – Ty Sambrailo or Dennis Kelly – isn't a pleasant one for the Titans either.
Another issue may slow the Titans' offense this week: The team's field-goal kicking unit is shaky. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski has made just one of his last five field goals. He'll be working this week with a new long snapper – after the team released Beau Brinkley – and most likely a new holder as well, since punter Brett Kern (the usual holder) has a wrist injury.
Speaking of injuries, the Bears are dealing with several themselves. Starting center Cody Whitehair missed last week's loss to New Orleans and started the week by missing practice once again. Sam Mustipher filled in for Whitehair last week, but he's also on the injury report.
What's it all mean? My guess is that the Titans' offense won't run wild against a solid Bears defense. In addition, the Titans' defense will make Chicago's offense look a little bit better than usual. That combination should make for a fairly close game, so my official pick is taking the Bears plus six points.
NFL Expert Picks
Bears +6 @ +100
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