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Monday Night Football Preview: Bears at Rams

This is going to be a very physical, low scoring game and I should warn you that you may fall asleep if you love offense.

Chicago Bears David Montgomery by Jack Kurzenknabe is in the Public Domain.

Monday Night Football Preview: Bears at Rams


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Week 7 of the 2020 NFL schedule will conclude with the Chicago Bears (5-1) traveling to SoCal to take on the Los Angeles Rams (4-2) for Monday Night Football. The Rams are looking to rebound after a difficult loss to the 49ers, and face a Bears team currently 1st in the NFC standings (who saw that coming?).

This is the third meeting in three seasons between these teams. The Bears took down the Rams 15-6 in 2018 on the back of “Santa’s Sleigh“, and the Rams returned the favor last season beating the Bears 17-7 (and got Mitchell Trubisky benched in the process).

Are either of these teams any good, though?

GAME DETAILS

Date: Monday, October 26, 2020
Game Time: 8:15 ET/ 5:15 PT
Venue: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Network: ESPN
Spread: Rams -6
Over-under: 45 points

Bears Keys to Victory

Chicago’s Quarterback Nick Foles is streaky. Last weekend, Foles began the game 14/17, 115 yards and a touchdown, followed that up with streaks of 0/7 (1 interception), 8/9 and then ended the day 1/6. The Bears need to capitalize when Nick gets hot. OK- well, when is this? Expect a good amount of no huddle on offense for Chicago, as that’s when Foles gets in a rhythm.

In our Power Rankings article this week. I referenced the following tweet comparing the 2020 Chicago defense with its 2018 counterparts:

https://twitter.com/BearsFilmRoom/status/1318568642037108737?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1318568642037108737%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3%2Ccontainerclick_1&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheturfsports.com%2Fsports%2Ffootball%2Fnfl-power-rankings-week-7%2FKEY MATCH UP—

Chicago is 5-1 primarily due to their ability to stop other teams on third down and in the red-zone. This alone keeps them in games, but what differentiated Chicago in 2018 was their ability to take the ball away. To win this game the Bears need to find a way to give their anemic offense short fields by means of the takeaway.

Or you can just hope that your kick returner makes a few plays:

Key Match Up: Jared Goff vs. Bears Defense

Quarterback Jared Goff has a career high 67.4 completion percentage, 1570 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions on the season. That’s pretty easy to do, however, when you have been feasting on bottom half of the NFL defenses. Against a good defense last week, Goff struggled to complete only 50% of his passes en route to a loss.

Well, it doesn’t get easier. Chicago is a top five defense who has had his number as of late. In his two starts against the Bears, Jared Goff has a 50% completion percentage, 353 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and 44.5 passer rating. Ouch.

Rams Keys to Victory

The Bears have surrendered at least 100 yards on the ground in five of their six losses. This plays well into LA’s hand with their three-headed running back monster of Darrell Henderson Jr, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers. The Rams need to commit to running the ball on first down (As they have for a very good 5.5 ypa). This will take the pressure off Jared Goff, allowing him to feast on play action (696 yards on the season).

Defensively the Rams have excelled coming out of the break. This team has held five out of their six opponents without a second half touchdown. This is important considering the Bears already have two huge fourth quarter comebacks (21 and 20 points) and know how to win close games (4, 4, 4, 1 and 7 points).

Key Match Up: Aaron Donald vs. the Bears Offensive Line

Aaron Donald is a beast- PPF’s defensive player of the year four times and is clearly the best defender in the NFL. It’s no surprise he is leading the NFL in both sacks (7.5) and quarterback pressures (37). Donald dominated the Bears last season with 2 sacks, 4 quarterback hits and a pass defended, and everyone should expect the same tonight.

Donald’s eyes should widen as he gets to face Chicago’s awful offensive line:

A once promising unit has turned into a joke of late. They lost their best lineman (James Daniels) for the season. They are starting a former defensive tackle (Rashaad Coward) at Left Guard and their starting tackles are 29th and 39th among Pro Football top 40 tackle rankings. No wonder they have only averaged 2.5 yards per carry in their last three games.

Final Word

There’s not much national respect for either team due to the quality of opponents (.367 for Bears and .250 win percentage for Rams). On Monday Night, however, both the Rams and Bears are fighting for the chance to make a statement in prime time.

Please don’t be foolish expecting a game similar to last night’s brilliant 37-34 shootout. This is going to be a very physical, low scoring game and I should warn you that you may fall asleep if you love offense. Tonight’s match up will likely be won on a creative score (See Cordarrelle Patterson above) or off a turnover.

You could easily pick either team. I like the Rams to win this game since the Bears won both times I have picked against them.

Currently, the Over/Under is set at 45 and I don’t see it. Get ready for a blockbuster:

FINAL: LOS ANGELES 12, CHICAGO 10

Tim is a grateful believer, husband to Kristin, Father to Isabelle living in Los Angeles as both an actor and Claims adjuster. He was born and grew up eight blocks from Wrigley Field and is a die hard Chicago fan (Especially Bears). He is incredibly grateful to The Turf for giving him a chance to pursue a passion of his.

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