Two of the best teams in the NFC will take center stage in Week 14 as the Chicago Bears play host to the Los Angeles Rams. The fun begins at 8:20 EST on Sunday, December 9, at Soldier Field in Chicago. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
According to the Week 14 NFL odds, the Rams are 3-point favorites on the road. However, that line has come down some after L.A. began the week favored by 4.5 points. The over/under for the game is set at 52.5 points.
Ever since losing to the Saints a few weeks ago, the Rams have gotten back to business as usual. They held off a challenge from the Seahawks, survived that epic shootout with the Chiefs, and won by a comfortable margin last week against the Lions. Those three wins have officially clinched the NFC West. The Rams now have their sights set on locking up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Of course, since they would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Saints, Los Angeles may be forced to win out in order to earn the NFC’s top seed. That may not be so easy with back-to-back primetime games lined up. This week, the Rams will face the Bears and next week it’ll be the Eagles. On the bright side, if Los Angeles can survive those two games, they should be home free until the playoffs.
The Bears, on the other hand, are trying to bounce back from last week’s loss to the Giants. Mitchell Trubisky has missed the last two games with Chase Daniel taking over. Daniel led Chicago to a win over Detroit. But two interceptions, including a pick-six, cost Daniel and the Bears last week against the Giants. That loss snapped Chicago’s five-game winning streak. However, they retain a game-and-a-half lead over the Vikings for first place in the NFC North.
Despite that cushion, another loss could make things a little uncomfortable for the Bears. They still have to visit the Vikings the final week of the season. Obviously, they would prefer to lock up the division title before that game. To do that, the Bears will have to win their next three games, starting with Sunday’s game against the Rams.
At the original spread, I may have taken the Bears as home underdogs. But it’s hard not taking the Rams with only a field goal to cover. For what it’s worth, Los Angeles has only covered in two of their last eight games. However, they have been double-digit favorites in a lot of those games. On paper, there’s little doubt that the Rams are the better team, so I’ll take my chances that they’ll cover on the road.
To be fair, the Bears are 5-1 at home this season, so I’m not too worried about last week’s loss. But it’s worth mentioning that the one loss came against the Patriots. Much like the Rams, New England is a team that can put up huge offensive numbers and almost score at will. Despite the Bears forcing three turnovers in that game, they still conceded 38 points, which made it difficult for the Chicago offense to keep up.
The good news for the Bears is that Trubisky is expected back after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. Trubisky gives Chicago something they didn’t get with Daniel, which is a quarterback who can make plays with his legs. The yards Trubisky picks up on scrambles are an underrated part of Chicago’s running game. The Bears definitely need him back to have a chance in this game. However, Chicago may need Trubisky to carry them with his arm if they end up getting into a shootout with the Rams as they did against the Patriots.
No matter what defense they’ve come up against this season, the Rams have been almost impossible to stop. There are just two games all season in which they’ve been held under 30 points, and in one of those games, they scored 29 points. The Rams are one of those rare teams that can survive a bad performance from their defense because they can win shootouts. They can also survive a sluggish start to a game because of how explosive they can be in short bursts.
In fairness, the Chicago defense is arguably the biggest challenge the Rams have faced this season. The Bears are giving up just over 20 points per game and have a knack for creating takeaways and scoring defensive touchdowns. That being said, the Chicago defense has struggled in the 2nd half of games over the past month. They’ve been able to get away with it against the Lions and Vikings, but the Chicago defense will have to be at their best for 60 minutes if they hope to keep the L.A. offense contained.
All things considered, it’s hard to bet against a team that’s 11-1. Despite how good the Bears are defensively and how well they’ve played at home, no one has been able to slow down the Rams. I also don’t think the Bears can keep up in a shootout, even with Trubisky back from injury. For the Rams, three points is a manageable spread, so I’ll take my chances with L.A. taking care of business yet again.