Sunday Night Football will feature a battle of NFC North versus West as the Chicago Bears take on the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams will host this one at SoFi Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 pm ET.
Both of these teams made the playoffs last year, and they are looking for even more success this year.
For the Bears, they squeaked in as the seven-seed, but the postseason appearance was brief. They were knocked out in the wild card round 21-9 by the New Orleans Saints.
Los Angeles had a little more postseason success. They were able to beat the Seattle Seahawks (30-20) but were knocked out in the divisional round by the Green Bay Packers 32-18.
The Rams are the heavy favorites in this one playing at home. They are -375 on the moneyline while the Bears sit at +300. The spread features Chicago +7.5 (-108), and the over/under for total points is 46.5.
The Bears currently have the third-best odds of winning the NFC North at +550. They are +6000 to win Super Bowl LVI.
The Rams have the second-best odds of winning the NFC West, but it is expected to be a really tight division. In fact, the 49ers are +190, the Rams are +200, and the Seahawks are +270 to win the division. Los Angeles is +1500 to win the Super Bowl.
By The Numbers
In their last nine games against the Rams, the Bears are 6-3 overall. Despite that strong record, they are just 3-8 in their last 11 games.
The Rams have done well lately in the month of September. In fact, in the last 11 games in the month, they are 8-2-1 against the spread. They are 5-1 against the spread in their last six opening week games.
Quarterbacks Will Be The Constant Talk Of Chicago
After moving on from Mitch Trubisky, the Chicago Bears brought Andy Dalton in to serve as a veteran quarterback this season. However, when Justin Fields fell into their lap in the draft, many fans have been clamoring for the rookie to get the start.
Still, it will be Dalton leading the way in Week 1. Last season, with the Cowboys, Dalton threw for 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 11 games (nine starts).
On the ground, the Bears will once again turn to David Montgomery to be their workhorse. He rushed 247 times for 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns last year. He also had 54 receptions for 438 yards and another two scores.
Defensively, Roquan Smith was arguably the best Bears’ defender last season. The linebacker had 139 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and two interceptions last season.
Rams Hope For Big Year Out Of Stafford
One of the biggest moves for the Rams this offseason was trading Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The longtime Lions’ starter threw for 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns, and ten interceptions last season. Now, with Cooper Kupp (92 receptions, 974 yards, three touchdowns), Robert Woods (90 receptions, 936 yards, six touchdowns), and Tyler Higbee (44 receptions, 521 yards, five touchdowns) at his disposal, he might be in for a bigger year this year.
One of the best players in the league on defense continues to be defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The 30-year-old put up huge numbers last year as he had 45 tackles, 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
Take Los Angeles To Win And Cover
This one comes down to overall talent. Even though the Rams will have a new quarterback under center, they still have a roster that is more ready-made for a postseason run.
With a team that ranked second in scoring defense last year, allowing just 19.3 points per game, the Bears could have a hard time finding the endzone. Furthermore, the Rams should have a much-improved offense with Stafford under center.
While the Bears may be better than some expect, the Rams are still the smart bet in this one. Take Los Angeles to win and cover the 7.5-point spread.