Chicago Bears (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (4-2)
I’ve taken the Bears in 5 of 7 games this season, as I’ve thought all season they were an underrated team. In those 5 games, they went 4-1 ATS, including straight up victories as underdogs against the Steelers, Ravens, and Panthers. They have an above average defense, an above average running game, and an above average offensive line and can give good teams problems. However, I think the public is starting to catch on following Chicago’s wins over the Ravens and Panthers in the past 2 weeks, two games in which they didn’t allow a single offensive touchdown, so I don’t know if you can call them underrated anymore.
This week they go to New Orleans to face the Saints, another team that has been underrated for a while. As a result of that and Chicago’s two recent wins, we’re not getting much value with the Bears this week, as they are 9.5 point underdogs on the road against one of the better teams in the league. The Saints offense is still about as good as it’s ever been, but their defense has taken a major step forward this season, led by defensive end Cameron Jordan and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who are both playing at an All-Pro level.
The Bears managed just 5 first downs last week in their 17-3 win over the Panthers, as the defense provided 14 points on two returns and a big play by running back Tarik Cohen set-up a field goal for another 3. That 5 first down performance dropped them to 28th in first down rate at 30.55%. They’ll need to do much better than that this week, as they’re unlikely to be able to rely on huge plays and return touchdowns for points. In order to do that, they’ll need rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky to make some plays, after running a very conservative offense in his first 3 starts. I’m not sure if he’s capable of that, not necessarily because I don’t believe in his talent, but because he’s inexperienced and working with arguably the worst receiving corps in the NFL. For that reason, I’m taking the Saints here at 9.5, but I would take the Bears at 10. That’s how close this is for me.
New Orleans Saints 27 Chicago Bears 17
Pick against the spread: New Orleans -9.5