Following its tumultuous trip to Green Bay last week, the Chicago Bears return home Sunday to take on the St. Louis Rams in a matchup of teams with 1-1 records. The Bears are 7 1/2-point favorites against the upstart Cardinals with the over/under at 43 points, according to the latest NFL odds.
The travails of the Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler have been well-chronicled this week. Chicago, who many thought had a big chance to pull off the upset in Green Bay, instead imploded in a 23-10 loss to the Packers. Cutler endured a week of criticism following his performance. His numbers against the Packers? He completed 11 of 17 passes for 126 yards, was sacked seven times, threw four interceptions, berated several teammates and shoved at least one in front of a national television audience.
A big factor in how the Bears do against the Rams this week will hinge on their ability to smooth over the turmoil that wrecked the team last week. For their part, the Bears say last week’s game has been put behind them.
“It happened, it’s an emotional game,” Cutler said this week. “I put a lot into playing quarterback, and I take it seriously. It’s just one of those things that happened in a game. Since then, we’ve talked about it and it’s really behind us.”
We’ll see. The Bears offense is averaging just 298 yards a game through the first two weeks of the season, good for just 27th in the NFL. Additionally, their top playmaker on offense, running back Matt Forte, is dealing with an ankle sprain that will limit his playing time against the Cardinals.
St. Louis will be trying to match its win total for all of last year against the Bears. New head coach Jeff Fisher looks to have the Rams on the improve and a victory this week would be an early “signature win” for the new regime. Considering the controversy the Bears were forced to deal with this week, the Rams appear capable of sneaking out of Chicago with a win. Or at least staying within a touchdown. Take the 7.5-points and the Rams.