Ouch. That’s the only way to explain last week’s loss to Miami, a game Chicago should have won but gave away several times before finally losing in overtime.
The Bears did everything possible to hand the game to the Dolphins, from quarterback Mitch Trubisky missing wide open receivers to the defense giving up a 75-yard scoring play with just three minutes left to a missed field goal to win the game in OT.
It all added up to a big stumble for what was considered a team on the rise.
The offense wasn’t all bad, racking up 467 yards including 164 on the ground. Trubisky connected on 22 of 31 passes for 316 yards and did have three touchdowns.
But the vaunted defense gave up too many big plays and got torched for three scores and 380 yards from backup QB Brock Osweiler, who got the last minute call when starter Ryan Tannehill couldn’t answer the bell.
It will be interesting to see how much wind came out of the Bears’ sails after what happened in South Florida, a loss that suddenly makes Chicago feel a little more vulnerable to the big bad Patriots.
As for a history lesson, Tom Brady-led Patriots teams are 4-0 all-time against the Bears and have outscored Chicago 69-37 in two games played in Illinois and 137-73 overall. Sunday’s game is at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
The Pats survived an offensive shootout last Sunday night, outgunning Kansas City 43-40. What was billed as a videogame between QBs Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes turned out to be just that in Foxborough.
A 28-yard field goal as time expired won it for New England after it gained 500 offensive yards with 173 rushing. Brady hit on 24 of 35 passes for 340 yards with a touchdown, and Sony Michel rushed for 106 yards and two scores.
Sunday’s performance was the latest in New England’s string of offensive fireworks, as the Patriots have scored 48, 48, and 43 points in the last three games.
The Patriots climbed to 4-2 with last week’s victory, and we’ve seen this movie before when New England hits it stride, it starts to make things look easy.
Khalil Mack has been a stud since the Bears acquired the defensive end from Oakland prior to the start of the season, racking up five sacks, four forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown.
But an ankle injury slowed him down last week against Miami, and he most likely will not be back to full speed Sunday against New England.
Although he did return after the first-half injury against the Dolphins, Mack ended up playing 79 percent of Chicago’s snaps and finished without a sack for the first time in his Bears career.
If he’s just a step slower this week, it would have huge implications on what the Bears D can’t do and what Tom Brady can with more time in the pocket.
Cornerback Prince Amukamara and wideout Anthony Miller continue to battle injuries and are questionable Sunday.
New England offensive tackle Marcus Cannon suffered a head injury against the Chiefs, and LaAdrian Waddle replaced him for the remainder of the game. Cannon has reportedly been absent from practices this week.
Here are some things for NFL betting fans to consider in this matchup:
888Sport has New England -3.5, but given the trend for both teams last week that seems low coming into Sunday’s game. The Bears remain in first place in the NFC North, but whether they have the swagger of a top team after last week’s difficult loss is a huge question.
Chicago did bounce back from another heartbreaking defeat earlier this year when it rebounded after Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers made a miracle comeback to win the season opener with a win against Seattle the following week.
The offense is still potent, led by Trubisky, who has generated 770 yards of offense in the last two games, connecting on 41 of 57 passes for 670 yards with nine TDs, one interception and a 143.3 passer rating while also rushing for 100 yards on 11 carries. Pretty eye popping numbers.
In the last two games, running back Tarik Cohen has produced 314 all-purpose yards, including 18 rushes for 84 yards and 14 receptions for 211 yards and one touchdown. Receiver Taylor Gabriel has 12 catches for 214 yards and two TDs in those two contests.
But can that offense keep up with New England and Brady? The defense was shaky last week, and with potential injuries to Mack and Amukamara, there’s some cause for additional concern.
Not sure Chicago will stay in this game or keep it that close, so bet New England -3.5 with 888Sport.
They let Jacksonville and Detroit put up 31 and 26 respectively in a pair of losses, and there were the 40 on the board by Kansas City last week.
Points look like they will be plentiful, so bet the over of 49 at Karamba..
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