Sunday Afternoon Football: Patriots @ Bears

The New England Patriots visit Soldier Field in Chicago where they will face off against the high octane Bears team.  New England is tied with Miami for first place in the AFC East division with their 4-2 record. The Bears, however, are in sole possession of first place in their division, the NFC North.  Their record is 3-2, just edging out the Packers and Vikings, who are both 3-2-1. The Patriots are small favorites in this game at -1.5.

Matching Up

The Patriots rank 4th in the league in points per game, scoring 29.3.  They rank 13th in the league in total yards per game, with 381.2. A team that historically relies on the pass, the Patriots are ranking higher in the run than they are the pass this year.  They average 123 rushing yards per game, which is good enough for 11th in the league. Their 258.2 passing yards per game falls in the bottom half of the league, at 18th. They will certainly need to continue to improve these numbers to succeed this season.

The Bears average 27.8 points per game, which ranks 10th in the league.  They average 130 rushing yards per game, making them the number 8 rushing team in the league.  On the passing side of things, they rank lower (22nd) with 236.2 passing yards per game. They have definitely made the running game the focal point of their offense, and have improved their passing game throughout the season.

On defense, the Patriots allow 110.7 rushing yards per game.  Through the air, they allow 268.7 yards per game. These overall stats make them the 21st in the league.  New England’s defense is a bunch of young guys anchored by a few veteran pieces, such as linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
The Bears defense has been the focal point of the team, particularly their defensive line.  Players such as Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Jonathan Bullard, and Roy Robertson-Harris are relied upon to put pressure on the Quarterback and to stop the run.  They allow only 83.4 rushing yards per game. They allow 260.4 passing yards per game, showing that they will need to shore up their secondary to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots’ passing attack.

Patriots Without Gronk

The biggest news of the last few days regarding the Patriots was the status of Rob Gronkowski.  As of this morning, it was reported that Gronkowski did not make the trip to Chicago, thus ruling him out for the game.  This week provides a huge house to Chicago’s defense, as teams have to key in on (and often double team) the Patriot tight end.

Khalil Mack, despite an ankle injury, will be on the field Sunday.  He will be much needed, as the Bears will need to put the same pressure on Brady that was missing against Brock Osweiler last week.  Allen Robinson has also been ruled healthy enough to play in this game.

Bears Get it Done

With the Patriots having been given a 3 point spread, there is a case for betting on either of these teams.  However, with Gronkowski out, the Bears will have the option to key in on other receivers. Bet on the Chicago Bears to cover a 3 point spread.
  • Bet on the Chicago Bears +1.5

  • Bet on the New England Patriots -1.5

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