The New England Patriots will look to extend their winning streak to four games when they pay a visit to the Chicago Bears in Week 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 21, at Soldier Field in Chicago. A majority of the country will be able to see the game on CBS.
Oddsmakers list the Patriots as 3.5-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 49.5 points. Don’t forget to check out a full list of the Week 7 NFL odds.
After starting the season 1-2, the Patriots appear to have found their groove and now look close to unstoppable. They’ve won three games in a row, including last week’s win over the previously undefeated Chiefs. Perhaps more importantly, the Patriots have scored at least 38 points in each of those three wins, a sign that Tom Brady and company are settling back into their dominant ways.
Of course, the job isn’t done yet. New England is still tied with Miami at 4-2 atop the AFC East with the Jets just one game behind. The Patriots were also home for all four of their wins. With four of their next five games coming on the road, this week’s trip to Chicago starts a challenging stretch for them.
The Bears, on the other hand, saw their three-game winning streak come to a grinding halt last week in Miami. Even against a backup quarterback, the Bears couldn’t hold onto the 21-10 lead they had midway through the 3rd quarter. They also couldn’t punish the Dolphins for fumbling at the goal line in overtime, eventually losing 31-28.
Despite the loss, Chicago maintains a slim lead at the top of the NFC North. At 3-2, they are a sliver ahead of the Packers and Vikings, who are 3-2-1. Clearly, the NFC North is going to be a tight division all season, so every game is going to be important. It’s vital that the Bears find a way to bounce back from last week’s loss and take advantage of a stretch that has them playing four of their next five games at home.
It would be easy to swallow the points in favor of the Patriots, but I’m not convinced it’ll be that easy. Remember, New England is 0-2 on the road this season and was dreadful in both games. The Bears, meanwhile, are 2-0 at home and haven’t lost a game this year by more than three points. I think Chicago bounces back and at least beats the spread.
To be fair, the Patriots didn’t have Julian Edelman or Josh Gordon in their two road losses this season. Also, running back Sony Michel had not yet emerged as the team’s primary ball carrier, so things look a lot different for New England than they did a few weeks ago. But I’m still a little skeptical about the Patriots going on the road and having an easy time.
Despite last week’s collapse, the Chicago defense is still fourth in the NFL, giving up just 19 points per game. Outside of their struggles in the 2nd half last week and the 4th quarter comeback by Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, the Bears have been stout defensively all season. Even with a few guys banged up, including Khalil Mack, they’ll be ready to put up a fight against Brady and the Patriots.
It’s also important to remember that the Patriots aren’t always reliable on defense. There’s only been one game this season in which New England has kept a team under 20 points. When you consider that they’ve played four of their six games at home, that doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence in New England’s defense.
While the Chicago offense doesn’t get a ton of credit, they are (shockingly) 10th in the NFL in scoring, averaging nearly 28 points per game. Each of the last two weeks, Mitchell Trubisky has thrown for over 300 yards while also completing better than 70% of his passes. It’s fair to question the quality of the defenses he’s faced, but the New England defense may not be much better at defending the pass.
The Patriots have also struggled at times to stop the run this year. Despite both losing a fumble last week, the backfield duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen has performed well this season. Trubisky is also capable of helping out in the running game. If the Bears can move the ball on the ground, it’ll help put Trubisky in a good position to make plays and avoid costly turnovers. It also helps that the Bears don’t have one player for the Patriots to focus on stopping; they have five or six playmakers who can help them move the ball.
Obviously, betting against Brady and the Patriots is not something to do lightly. But I think the Bears have done enough this season to warrant it. I don’t think the Bears will be down on themselves after last week’s loss, and coming home will certainly help. Knowing Chicago hasn’t lost a game by more than three points this year makes me comfortable going with the home underdogs to beat the 3.5-point spread, and maybe even beat the Patriots.