Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots (10/24 @ 8:15 PM EST)
Spread: Patriots -8.5
Overview and Betting Odds
The Chicago Bears (2-4) will be shipping out to Boston Monday night as they take on the New England Patriots (3-3). While there won’t be many household names in this matchup, we will see two young quarterbacks with big expectations. While they’ve disappointed early, a prime-time win could turn that around.
The Patriots come in 4-2 against the spread and hit the over three in three of their six games. At the same time, the Bears have gone 3-3 against the spread and hit the over just twice this year. The Bears are 0-3 on the road, while the Patriots are 1-1 at home.
The Bears surprised everyone in week one by beating a good 49ers team. The excitement was short-lived, however, as Chicago lost four of their next five games. There was some hope coming into the year among Bear fans, but now it seems inevitable that they will be destined for a top-five draft pick next year. Still, the team is young, and this season will determine how much of a remodel this team will need.
Second-year quarterback Justin Fields has struggled when passing, with the 32nd-lowest QBR and more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4). These numbers are troubling, but he has been able to do damage with his legs this year. He has 282 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but the lack of passing has defenses clamping down and keeping him in the pocket.
Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet were both expected to have big years, but the poor play of Fields has neutralized them. Neither has found the end zone through six weeks, with Mooney sitting at 241 receiving yards and Kmet with a shocking 116. On the ground, running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert are dangerous, but the lack of a passing offense has defenses committing more to the run.
The Bear’s defense has helped keep them in games this season. Their secondary has established itself as one of the league’s best, led by safety Eddie Jackson (3 INT). They also have disgruntled all-pro linebacker Roquan Smith, who has made clear that he’s no longer happy in the windy city. His stats are down this year, and he leads a run defense that has struggled. They’re giving up many yards and will face a solid Patriots run game. The Bear’s defensive line will be the unit to watch Monday, as their play will determine this game.
New England Patriots
The Patriots lost starting quarterback (and hopeful Brady replacement) Mac Jones in a game against Green Bay. While fans thought this would be the end of their season, little-known backup Bailey Zappe burst onto the scene to lead a comeback charge that would just fall short. Under Zappe, the Patriots easily won their next two games and reignited their playoff hopes.
Mac Jones is expected to get the start Monday night and will be challenged to keep the momentum going. While he had a forgettable start to the season (2 TDs and 5 INTs), he will return to a red-hot offense. Jones has the potential to be the Patriot’s franchise quarterback, but Bailey Zappe has outplayed him this year. Mac’s performance tonight may go a long way in deciding who leads this Patriots offense for the next decade.
On the ground, Rhamondre Stevenson has emerged as a significant backfield threat. Over the last two games, he has 237 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He’s stepped up in a big way after Damien Harris’s injury and should be featured Monday night heavily. If Harris can play, the notoriously soft Bears defensive line will be in for a long night.
The New England defense has been great as of late, shutting out Detroit and holding the Browns to fifteen points at Cleveland. Matthew Judon is having another great year, getting into the backfield for six sacks in six games. He’s gotten help this year from the emergence of Deatrich Wise Jr., who has already matched his career high in sacks with five. The Bear’s offensive line has struggled to protect Fields this year, meaning these will likely add to their impressive totals.
Free Pick: Patriots -8.5
It’s a lot of points to give up, but we’re betting on Mac Jones and this hot Patriots offense. Chicago’s secondary is good, but Stevenson (and possibly Harris) will terrorize that defensive line. The Bears will need to use more linebackers, opening the secondary for the Patriot’s passing game. While we believe Jones will step up Monday night to fight for his job, it’s comforting knowing that Zappe is there just in case. Combine that with Belichick’s scheming for Justin Fields, and we see this as another Patriots blowout.We’ll give up the points to take the Patriots Monday night.