The 4-2 New England Patriots travel to Soldier Field in the Windy City to take on the 3-2 Chicago Bears. One side is riding the momentum of a huge Sunday night win against one of the league’s best offenses while the other is coming off a disappointing result against a Brock Osweiler led team. If you’re expecting that same Bears team to show up on Sunday in their place, you are sadly mistaken. This is a very talented and deep football team and this is going to be a tightly-contested football game from snap to whistle.
The line has already moved down to a field goal and sees the Patriots once again favored as their historic run of being the favorite continues on Sunday. The Bears have first year head coach running the show in Matt Nagy who worked under Andy Reid with the Chiefs and has really brought along Mitch Trubisky into a polished NFL Quarterback in just his second year. They have some serious talent on both sides of the ball, and a hall of fame caliber pass rusher who will be hunting Tom Brady. Time to dive in.
Bears offense vs. Patriots defense
New England’s defense looked really good in the first half holding the Chiefs high-powered offense in check. Of course that was quickly unraveled in 10 minutes where Mahomes and co. put on a show dropping 31 in the second half, but there are certainly many positives they can take into this matchup against a similar style of offense. Through his first 5 starts this season, Trubisky has 11 TD’s and 4 INT’s with 1,261 passing yards, a 70.2% completion percentage and a 105.6 QBR. He’s dropped 9 TD’s in his last two games including 6 a few weeks back against the Bucs. He’s got some outside weapons in Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel that the Pats defenders will be tasked with holding in check.
If Chicago is going to contend for the win, they have to establish the running game against New England. Jordan Howard‘s season high of rushing yards was 82 yards way back in Week 1, they’re going to need to pound the rock and keep the Patriots defense on the field and most importantly Tom Brady off of it in order to win the football game. The secondary for New England has been much improved with the McCourty twins and Stephon Gillmore, Tyreke Hill makes the best of defenders look like he did late in that game. Hightower flashed some skills with the pick last week and I like New England’s chances of keeping Chicago in the 20-point range.
Patriots offense vs. Bears defense
Josh McDaniels and the Pats offense is coming off three straight fantastic performances with 38, 38 and 43 points respectively. They face a daunting task on Sunday with a trip to Chicago to take on one of the league’s better defenses. First round pick Roquan Smith up the middle, Akiem Hicks on the defensive line with Leonard Floyd off the edge and of course the generational talent in Khalil Mack. A silver lining is Mack is banged up with an ankle injury that will hamper his ability to rush the Quarterback. Patriots RT Marcus Cannon (concussion) was ruled out on Friday after failing to practice all week.
The Patriots will struggle to move the football, at least on the surface compared to the collection of garbage they’ve faced on defense the last few weekends. It will be a real test. Brady under pressure will have to release the ball quickly and avoid the heavy pass rush. It will be interesting to see how Sony Michel fares against a top-flight defense and he can continue to build on impressive performances over the last few weeks. I have this game being close, but I can see New England pulling out a tightly-contested game with Gostkowski hitting a few big kicks down the stretch. Bears still don’t have enough guys on the outside to match up with the Patriots weapons for Tom Brady, I’m not sure anyone in the league does.
Prediction: Patriots 23, Bears 20
Patriots have control most of the night, but Chicago makes it a tight and competitive football game. Time for that statement road win.
Update: Rob Gronkowski downgraded to doubtful after failing to travel with the team due to a back injury that popped up along with the ankle issue. According to multiple reports he’s expected to rest Sunday then be back for Monday night in Buffalo.