When the Bears (5-1) travel to face the Rams (4-2) to close out NFL Week 7 on “Monday Night Football” (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), it will be about two teams trying to keep pace in tough divisions.
For Chicago, it knows both Green Bay and Detroit won in the NFC North on Sunday. Los Angeles saw Seattle lose, but both Arizona and San Francisco won in the NFC West.
The quarterback headliners are Jared Goff and Nick Foles, but the marquee is stolen by two top defenses, led by 2014 first-round picks Aaron Donald and Khailil Mack. This figures to be one of the lower-scoring games of the week as both teams will grind with their pass rush, coverage and complementary rushing attacks.
Here’s how Sporting News sees the latest edition of “MNF” playing out, along with betting information you need to know for the game:
Betting odds for ‘Monday Night Football’
The Rams have been around touchdown favorites all week, with the line dropping by a half-point toward the Bears late in the week. The point total has also gone down a little from 46.
Bears vs. Rams all-time series
The Bears and Rams will be meeting for a 95th time. The Bears hold a 54-37-3 edge. The Rams won at Los Angeles 17-7 last November. Before then the Bears won 15-6 in Chicago in December 2018. The Bears have won six of the eight past overall in the series, going back to 2006. The teams tend to play either blowouts or close, low-scoring games.
Three trends to know
— 55 percent of bettors think the Bears will keep it close and make it less than a touchdown difference and cover.
— 58 percent of bettors think the total has been placed too low and the offenses will overachieve with the running and sometimes deep-passing games.
— The Bears are 4-2 against the spread this season. The Rams are are 3-3 against the spread. For each team, the total has gone over in only two of six games.
Three things to watch
Allen Robinson vs. Jalen Ramsey
The former Jaguars teammates should have quite a battle. Robinson is the clear go-to guy for Foles, as the Bears’ next most reliable wide receiver has been undrafted deep threat Darnell Mooney. Ramsey can either stick to one side or shadow with his elite cornerback coverage. He will make it tough on Robinson all game. Robinson stands 6-2, 216 pounds. Ramsey is at 6-1, 208 pounds. So he has the size to give Robinson plenty of problems to try to take him away from Foles.
Darrell vs. David
The Rams and the Bears each have talented second-year running backs in Darrell Henderson and David Montgomery. Both have gotten bigger shares of the backfield touches than expected because of injuries to others. The Rams are No. 9 against the run and the Bears are No. 15, but they also are No. 4 and No. 8 against the pass, respectively. It’s smart to keep the ball out of the quarterbacks’ hands, so whoever gets more rushing production from wire to wire should win.
Donald vs. Mack
Donald has 7.5 sacks in six games. He had four sacks in Week 5 before being silenced by the 49ers in Week 6. Mack has 4.5 sacks in six games. He was unstoppable against the Panthers and the Buccaneers. Whoever can take over the game better defensively is bound to be on the winning side.
Stat that matters
7. That’s how many times Goff has been sacked this season in six games. The Rams’ offensive line has improved and is protecting him well, as well as opening up good holes in the running game. Foles has been sacked himself only four times in his four games of significant action. It comes down to who can avoid the big losses and mistakes under pressure. Advantage slightly to Goff.
Bears vs. Rams prediction
The Rams will be very disciplined with a clean game, leaning a lot on their running game and defense and having Goff get the ball out quickly to favorable matchups for slot wide receiver Cooper Kupp and his tight ends. Foles doesn’t have as much reliability and balance supporting him. Donald and Ramsey make their presences felt as Sean McVay easily out-coaches Matt Nagy.
Rams 24, Bears 17
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