Sunday night will be the Chicago Bears biggest game of the 2018 season…so far. They have a 1.5 game lead in the NFC North and could really put themselves in a good position with a win. Especially, considering they play two bad football teams in week’s 15 and 16.
Beating the 11-1 Los Angeles Rams will not be an easy task, however.
The Rams come in as the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They clinched the NFC West last week against the Detriot Lions. With a loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome this year, the Rams understand how important having home-field advantage in the NFL playoffs is.
Still, this game sets up for a Bears victory. How? Let me answer that below.
Thankfully for the Bears, this game will be played at night in Chicago. Meaning it’s going to be cold, also meaning that it’s officially “Bears’ football weather.” All jokes aside, it being cold outside does give the Bears an advantage.
The forecast is clear but with temperatures around 25 degrees and dropping to as low as 21. That’s big when the opposing team is from LA and doesn’t have much experience playing in cold weather. Specifically, their quarterback, Jared Goff.
Goff is a Cali kid and hasn’t had much experience playing in the cold. In fact, the coldest game Goff has played in this year was when the Rams played the Broncos in an early winter storm. The Rams won the football game, but Goff was just 14-28 for 201 yards and one interception.
As for Bears’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky, he has plenty experience playing in cold weather. He grew up in Ohio and helped beat the Vikings two weeks ago, in the Chicago cold, on Sunday night football.
Goff Home/Road Splits
Speaking of quarterbacks, let’s take a look at Jared Goff’s home/road splits.
As a whole, Goff has had a fantastic season. He has thrown for 3,754 yards with 27 touchdowns and has a QB rating of 109.9. His home/road splits are intriguing though.
At home in 2018, Goff has thrown for 2,199 yards, 18 TDs, and just two interceptions. On the road, he has thrown for 1,555 yards, nine TDs, and five interceptions. That’s a fairly big drop off. Sure, some of that could be attributed to game flow. Maybe, Sean McVay relies on Todd Gurley a bit more on the road, but it’s obvious that Goff can struggle at times on the road.
Again, Goff has also never played in a game as cold as it will be in Chicago on Sunday night.
Overrated Rams’ Defense
Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL and may be the most valuable player as well. Outside of him though, the Rams don’t have much on defense.
They rank 19th in points allowed and 18th in yards allowed. They have forced 22 turnovers, but they are vulnerable. CB Marcus Peters has been burned at times this season, while Aqib Talib has missed most of the year with an injury. He will be back Sunday night and should play the entire game. Expect him to be a bit rusty.
Six times this season the Rams have given up at least 25 points. There will be opportunities for the Bears to put up points. Now, this does mean the Bears will have to slow down Donald, which isn’t an easy task.
Expect Matt Nagy to have a lot of quick throws early on to neutralize the Rams’ pass rush.
Yes, the Rams do need this game to maintain home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs. It’s important to keep in mind that they did clinch a division title last week and will be playing in the cold on the road.
This is a perfect example of a potential letdown spot.
Also, what if the Bucs are able to beat the Saints? It’s very possible with the Saints coming off a loss and the Bucs being at home. The Saints also had issues with the Bucs in their week one loss. That was a long time ago, but something to keep in mind.
Depending on what happens in the early games, the Rams could be in a letdown spot on Sunday night against the Bears.
Bounce Back Spot/Mitch Trubisky
The loss against the New York Giants was tough. Hell, all the Bears’ losses this season have been tough. After their tough losses, the Bears have been able to bounce back. Something similar should happen on Sunday night.
Mitch Trubisky will make his return from a shoulder injury as well. His mobility will make a big difference in this one. This is also the Rams’ second consecutive game on the road. It’s hard not to like the Bears at home in this spot.
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