Bears

Bears return to Soldier Field as home underdogs against the Patriots

Bears return to Soldier Field as home underdogs against the Patriots

The Bears were getting used to life in the big chair. Chicago was favored in each of their last four games, but it all came crashing down at the hands of Brock Osweiler in overtime last week.

The Miami Dolphins pulled off the upset, and now the Bears return home to take on one of the best teams in the league.

Even if they had won in Miami, Chicago likely still would have been underdogs to the New England Patriots on Sunday, but as it stands, Bill Belichick and company are favored by three on most major sportsbooks, according to Vegas Insider.

The line initially opened at Patriots by 2.5, but it would seem that money placed on New England pushed the spread a little more in the Bears’ favor.

Vegas is expecting another higher-scoring game for both teams, with the over/under sitting at 49. Given that the Patriots have scored at least 38 points in each of their last three games, the Bears’ defense may have some trouble keeping this game low on the scoreboard.

In Week 6, home underdogs went 4-1 against the spread and 3-2 straight up. According to Bet America, home underdogs have covered in 20 of their 30 games this season, which bodes well for a Bears team facing a tough task at Soldier Field.

If shoulder sidelines Trubisky, Bears postseason hope could turn on defense, capable No. 2 QB -- again

If shoulder sidelines Trubisky, Bears postseason hope could turn on defense, capable No. 2 QB -- again

The Bears defeat of the Minnesota Vikings produced two dominant story lines: that the Chicago defense is quite possibly even better than early indications, and that Mitchell Trubisky has a throwing-shoulder issue, severity unknown.
 
With the 2018 playoffs within reach, those two narratives are closely connected.
 
Because very good Bears teams have survived and even flourished in situations where an injury to the starting quarterback propelled a backup into his stead, with postseason results. Those results were sometimes less under the No. 2’s but the regular seasons did not automatically crumble. The overarching reason lay with the defenses at the other end of the locker room and that No. 2 being serviceable.
 
Irrespective of how Trubisky’s shoulder injury occurred – whether Vikings safety Harrison Smith is in fact a direct descendant of Charles Martin or Hugh Douglas – a scenario is in the offing that could require Chase Daniel to step in for Trubisky, if not as early as this Thursday in Detroit, then likely at some point of this or next season. The odds and elementary analytics of quarterback durability say so.
 
Which is where the matter of the defense and a capable No. 2 come in, as they sometimes have been able to on occasion in Bears history:

1985 -- Steve Fuller for Jim McMahon

McMahon was injured in a game-nine win and Fuller started the following week – against the Detroit Lions. The 24-3 win was followed by shutouts of Dallas and Atlanta, a three-game span in which the Bears’ defense scored more points (14) than the three opposing offenses (3).
 
 
1986 -- Mike Tomczak/Doug Flutie for McMahon

Green Bay defensive lineman Charles Martin was suspended for pile-driving McMahon into the turf, resulting in a season-ending shoulder injury for McMahon, who missed 10 total games in the season. The Bears fashioned the NFL’s best record (14-2) but did lose those two games behind backup Mike Tomczak, then lost in the first round of the playoffs under Doug Flutie.

2001 -- Jim Miller for Shane Matthews

Matthews started but was injured in game one at Baltimore. Miller replaced him and the Bears finished 13-3. But in the first round of the playoffs, Philadelphia defensive end Hugh Douglas body-slammed Miller after an interception, Miller left with a shoulder injury, the Bears lost and Miller was never the same.

2004 -- Hutchinson/Krenzel/Quinn for Rex Grossman

Lovie Smith installed Grossman as the starter. But Grossman injured knee ligaments and was replaced – unsuccessfully – by Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn. The defense, building under Smith’s design, slumped with Brian Urlacher plagued by hamstring issues.

2005 -- Kyle Orton for Grossman

Grossman suffered a broken ankle in preseason. Rookie Kyle Orton went 10-5 as his replacement and with one of the great defenses in franchise history. But the Bears lost in round one of the playoffs with Grossman returned to starter.


2011-- Caleb Hanie for Jay Cutler

A 7-3 start dissolved when Cutler broke his right thumb and Hanie foundered despite a defense that still had Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Brian Urlacher. Josh McCown won a by-then-meaningless game 16.
 
 
2012 -- Jason Campbell for Cutler

When Cutler suffered a concussion against Houston, Jason Campbell stepped in against the Texans and the following week against the 49ers and their Vic Fangio defense. The Bears lost both those games, missed the playoffs at 10-6 and Smith was fired.
 
2013  -- Josh McCown for Cutler
 
Cutler was in and out of the lineup with injuries. McCown resurrected his career with his relief work, going 3-2 as interim starter and becoming the first Bears quarterback to pass for 300 yards in three straight games. Cutler returned from injury and was ordered back in as the starter by GM Phil Emery. With a historically bad Bears defense throughout the season, Cutler started the final three games, the Bears lost the last two to finish 8-8 and lose the division to 8-7-1 Green Bay.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: The Bears won big on SNF, but just how far will they go this season?

hicks-1119.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: The Bears won big on SNF, but just how far will they go this season?

David Haugh, Patrick Finley and Kevin Fishbain join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to dissect the Bears huge win over the Vikings. They discuss the defense’s dominating performance against Minnesota, grading Mitch Trubisky’s night and predict how far Matt Nagy’s team can go this season.

15:00- The guys react to the news of Denzel Valentine needing season-ending ankle reconstruction and discuss if it’s even worth it to let go of Fred Hoiberg during this season.

18:30- Patrick Kane turns 30 today. Can he play into his 40s?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

SportsTalk Live Podcast

Subscribe: