Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams Week 1 Predictions: Against the Spread, Total and Props
- Key Note: The Rams defense finished 4th in passing success rate against in 2020, per Sharp Football Stats. The Bears will start Andy Dalton at quarterback.
Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams
Date: Sunday, September 12
Time: 8:20 PM ET
Location: SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
TV Network: NBC
Bears Record: 0-0
Rams Record: 0-0
Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams Prediction
The Bears have a chance to be a fun offense at some point in 2021, but that point won’t come until they turn the reins over to rookie Justin Fields. Fields had a tremendous preseason and looks like he could wind up as one of the steals of the 2021 draft after he fell outside the top-10 picks; naturally, Chicago will start Andy Dalton in Week 1 instead.
Dalton was perhaps at one point underrated, and it was a shame his best career season in 2015 was cut short to injury after leading the Bengals to a 10-3 record through 13 games. But 2015 was a long time ago, and Dalton turns 34 next month having seen his play decline in recent years, including a terrible final season in Cincinnati in 2019 and only a slight bounceback while filling in for the injured Dak Prescott with the Cowboys last year.
The Rams’ defense is fantastic against the pass, while the Bears’ defense has taken quite the hit in the secondary this offseason and looks overmatched on paper going into Week 1. They are also likely to be without nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who projects as a key piece of their run-stopping and suffered a minor knee injury in practice this week that has him listed as doubtful.
But don’t get me wrong — passing is the more efficient offensive playstyle, and the key here is the Rams should have the advantage in the passing game on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford will make his debut as Sean McVay’s new starting quarterback, and while the Rams will be without second-year RB Cam Akers, that may only force them to be more optimal with their play-calling in leaning more toward the pass, particularly early in the year while they settle their new backfield situation.
Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are healthy and can be productive against this Bears’ secondary, while the addition of a currently-healthy DeSean Jackson is probably going under-discussed. He’ll likely only be a rotational player at this stage of his career, and he’s only played sparingly over the past two seasons, but Jackson is one of the best deep threats of his generation and has continued to be productive when on the field even over the past few seasons. While he’s played only eight games over the past two years, Jackson averaged 11.0 yards per target and put up just shy of 400 receiving yards — he may not be a 1,000-yard receiver anymore, but he’s capable of hitting on a deep shot or at the very least stressing safeties with his deep speed to open things up underneath for guys like Kupp and Woods.
Jackson may not even play a huge role in Week 1, but the Rams also don’t appear to need him. A line like -7.5 is always a tough bet, but I would have expected the Rams to roll in this one even before considering little things like Goldman potentially missing for the Bears and Jackson potentially being an X-factor for L.A.
Bet: Rams -7.5