Both teams will be trying to put a stop to their recent losing skids when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday. At home, the Bears are listed as 3.5-point favorites with an over/under of 41 points.
While both teams have struggled recently, the Chargers are more in need of a win. At 2-5, Los Angeles has already lost more games than it did in 2018 when it went 12-4. The team’s current three-game losing streak has included home losses to the Broncos and Steelers, as well as a heartbreaker on the road last week when Melvin Gordon fumbled the ball on the goal line in the final minute of the game.
Meanwhile, the Bears lost to the Raiders in London a few weeks ago, had their bye week to stew over the failure, and came home last week, only to lose to the Saints 36-25. Chicago’s problem isn’t so much that it’s 3-3, but that the Vikings are 6-2, and the Packers are 6-1. After winning the NFC North last year, the Bears have fallen far behind two of their division rivals and need to start stringing wins together to stay in the playoff hunt.
Too Much Mitch
Chicago’s inconsistency on offense this year can likely be attributed to its lack of a running game. Rookie David Montgomery hasn’t proven to be a suitable replacement for Jordan Howard, who was traded away over the summer. Last week against the Saints, the Bears didn’t even try to establish the run with just seven rushing attempts for 17 yards. That left quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to attempt 54 passes, which is rarely going to be a winning formula for the Bears.
Of course, the Bears are hoping for more success running the ball this week against the Chargers, who have been shredded on the ground most of the season. To be fair, the LA run defense has been a little better in recent weeks. As a team, the Bears are also averaging just 3.4 yards per rush and 70 yards per game. They’ll have to at least get close to 100 yards this week to help relieve Trubisky of the burden of carrying the offense.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are having trouble finding an identity this season. Gordon has been a non-factor since returning from his holdout, leaving LA without a reliable running game. At times, the Chargers have also struggled to get Keenan Allen involved in the offense. He has 61 or fewer receiving yards in four straight games.
Those shortcomings will remain a concern for the Chargers this week against the Chicago defense. If you take away last week’s game with the Saints, the Bears are allowing less than 14 points per game this season. They have an elite pass rusher in Khalil Mack who can get after Phillip Rivers and force him into making mistakes if the Chargers continue to struggle running the ball and find themselves in passing situations.
Too Close to Call
Neither of these teams is likely to generate much offense in this game. With the spread over a field goal, the pressure is on the Bears to put some points on the board. Despite being just 2-5, the Chargers haven’t lost by more than a touchdown this year. Bet on the Chargers to at least beat the 3.5-point spread.