Ryan Pace's decision to draft North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky may yield dividends in the future, but Las Vegas doesn't believe it affects the team's 2017 outlook.
The Bears' over-under win total at South Point casino opened at 5, the third lowest number behind only the Browns (4) and 49ers (4.5), owners of the two worst records in 2016.
Unsurprisingly the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots led the way at 11 wins, followed by Pittsburgh (10.5) and Seattle (10.5).
The Green Bay Packers led the way in the NFC North at 10 wins, followed by the Vikings (8.5) and Lions (8).
The Bears are only opening-line favorites in two games this season....against the 49ers and Browns.
Week 1: +6 vs. Falcons
Week 2: + 7 at Buccaneers
Week 3: +5.5 vs. Steelers
Week 4: +9.5 at Packers
Week 5: +2 vs. Vikings
Week 6: +7 at Ravens
Week 7: N/A vs. Panthers
Week 8: +6 at Saints
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: +6.5
Week 11: +1 vs. Bears
Week 12: +6 at Eagles
Week 13: -4 vs. 49ers
Week 14: +6 at Bengals
Week 15: +6 at Lions
Week 16: -4.5 vs. Browns
Check out each team's win total right here.
Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents.
That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?
The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room).
So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure.
Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return.
“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”
If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length.
Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16
Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game?
Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.
Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: