NFL Sunday Night Picks -- Defense Could Dictate Things in Rams-Bears Clash

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sun, Sep 12th, 2021 4:39:18 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

Can Matthew Stafford put some explosiveness into the Los Angeles Rams' offense? We'll see as they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football.

Jared Goff was the quarterback when the Los Angeles Rams went to the Super Bowl a few years ago. But there were still; certain limits that came with him. BetOnline patrons may have sensed that. And head coach Sean McVay did as well.

In evaluating his team's situation, McVay knew that they had to be more dangerous down the field. And that meant investigating alternatives to Goff.

And so we saw a trade, in which Goff went off to Detroit and veteran Matthew Stafford headed to L.A. With this trade of former #1 overall draft picks, the Rams get a gunslinger who hasn't operated with much of a running game behind him, but has demonstrated the ability to stretch a defense and orchestrate fourth-quarter comebacks. He is also, on balance, less predictable than Goff.

Stafford has battled against the Chicago Bears for years, and he'll do so again as these teams hook up at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles County. It begins at 8:20 PM ET and will be carried on NBC.

A lot of people lose sight of the fact that the Bears were actually a playoff team last season. They snuck into the expanded post-season format by winning three of their last four games, then lost to New Orleans in the wild card round.

They have made some moves at the quarterback spot as well. Out went Mitchell Trubisky, for whom they gave up a lot to draft second overall. In limbo is Nick Foles, the MVP of Super Bowl 52, who is being held out for a trade.

Da Bears drafted Justin Fields of Ohio State in the first round back in the spring. For now, however, they're going with Andy Dalton, who saw some action with the Cowboys last season and threw for 2,169 yards after Dak Prescott got injured.

In the Sunday Night Football odds posted on this game at BetOnline, the Rams are big favorites:

Los Angeles Rams -9 (+100)
Chicago Bears +9 (-120)

Over 46.5 points -110
Under 46.5 points -110

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Does Stafford have enough weapons to really get after opposing defenses? Well, the answer for that is "maybe." Robert Woods and reliable possession receiver Cooper Kupp are still around. And maybe speedster DeSean Jackson still has some gas left in the tank.

McVay loves to operate with play action, and for that to happen he has to show the threat of running the ball. Along those lines, they may have mad a wise recent move in late August by picking up Sony Michel in a trade with New England. Michael averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season and had scored the only touchdown in the Pats' Super Bowl LII win over the Rams.

We acknowledge that the Bears are very experienced in facing Stafford for years while he was with the Lions. And they are sturdy enough as a defensive unit. But at the same time, we don't have a lot of faith in what Dalton can accomplish against a stop unit that was tops in the NFL last year. And we say that regardless of the fact that Brandon Staley is no longer around as the coordinator.

We also don't have all the faith in the world in Matt Nagy's play-calling. Foles had mentioned last year that he didn't even have time to execute what Nagy was calling. Dalton isn't the kind of guy who buys a lot of time for himself.

The last three meetings between these two (in each of the last three seasons) have been tight defensive battles, where only 79 total points have been scored. The present conditions dictate more of the same to us. So it's UNDER on the total.

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