Chicago Bears (2-1) at New York Giants (2-1)
Expected by many to be the worst team in the league, the Bears are a surprising 2-1, but if you look at how they are winning games, it’s not hard to see how they could still be the worst team in the league going forward. In both of their wins, the Bears have lost the first down rate and yards per play battle, by 0.41% and 1.30 against the 49ers and by 1.39% and 0.08 against the Texans, while their one loss to the Packers was not competitive, with the Bears losing the first down rate and yards per play battle by 10.85% and 0.71 respectively.
That loss to the Packers came by a bigger margin than their combined margin of victory in their two wins, leading to them having a -5 point differential on the season, despite a +1 turnover margin, making them one of just four teams with a negative point differential and a positive turnover margin (Steelers, Cardinals, Texans). Turnover margins are not nearly as predictive week-to-week as first downs and yards per play and, in terms of schedule adjusted overall efficiency, which is based on first downs and yards, the Bears rank dead last in the league, with well below average marks on offense (26th), defense (26th), and special teams (22nd).
The Giants also aren’t as good as their 2-1 record, but they looked like the significantly better of these two teams coming into the season and, even if they have been mediocre, they still have played better than the Bears have thus far this season. They have a 4 point edge in my roster rankings, so they are the significantly better team overall. Despite that, they are favored by just a field goal here at home, so we’re getting good line value with them, with my calculated line favoring them by 6 points. This isn’t a big play, but the Giants are bettable at -3.
New York Giants 23 Chicago Bears 17
Pick against the spread: NY Giants -3