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This one could be a battle of defenses so take the under (U40).
The best part of the 3-5 Chicago Bears is supposed to be their defense but right now star linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) and safety Eddie Jackson (hamstring) are both listed as questionable, so it could be up to their 32nd ranked offense to earn the win over the Steelers in Week 9, Chicago now with rookie Justin Fields under center who favors WR Allen Robinson.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger delivered an underdog Week 8 win over the Browns on 22 completions for 266 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers, so now Big Ben’s squad is looking to continue their rise in the AFC North with a Week 9 win over the Bears, except Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell is listed as questionable with a concussion.
These two cross-conference rivals have faced each other 27 previous times, with the Pittsburgh Steelers winning 7 of those games and the Chicago Bears winning 19 of the games, plus one tie.
When your offense is ranked last in the league like Chicago’s, maybe it’s time to try something else, but Bears’ offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has been dealing with injuries and erratic play from his quarterbacks, first from veteran Andy Dalton and now from rookie Justin Fields.
Fields has started in six games this season and has led the team to just two victories, so far completing under 60 percent of his passes with 94 completions for 991 yards and 3 touchdowns with seven interceptions, now leading the league after getting sacked 26 times for 206 backwards yards.
There has been some gradual improvement in Fields’ game as he slowly adjusts to the pro level, for example last week he completed 70 percent of his passes in the loss to the 49ers, but he must be more disciplined in how he delivers the ball, now with 5 picks in his last three outings.
This year the Steelers’ offensive line has allowed their 39-year old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked 14 times, which is one more than they allowed to happen all last season, so if they expect the ‘old’ man to last all seventeen games they had best protect him better.
The NFL rumor mill has predicted this as Roethlisberger’s last NFL season, but at times he seems not only effective, but happy to still be playing, his surgically rebuilt throwing arm not looking capable of tossing the deep ball anymore, but he is doing okay hitting close open receivers.
The Steelers are 4-3 after winning their last three games and a Week 9 win against the Bears helps them to better solidify their place in the AFC North, so expect a well-protected Big Ben to get the ball out quickly and efficiently on Monday night unless the Bears can get to him first.
Now in his second NFL season, Bears’ young tight end Cole Kmet is beginning to emerge as a solid blocker and pass receiver on a Chicago offense struggling to be productive, the 6’ 6” 260 pound Notre Dame alum becoming one of Justin Fields’ favorite targets.
This season Kmet has been almost as productive in eight games as he was last year in twice as many, targeted 36 times in 2021 with 22 of those passes caught for almost 200 yards but no touchdowns, his longest reception this season a 22-yarder.
The Gronk-type tight end – solid blocker and consistent red-zone passing target – is now all the rage in the NFL, and Kmet looks like he could be a perfect example of that type of playmaker, so watch for him on Monday night as this Bears’ 32nd ranked offense looks for any signs of life.
It was a risky play to begin with, but in Week 8 the Steelers tried a fake field goal to gain a first down and in the process their placekicker, Chris Boswell, got walloped and afterwards went into concussion protocol as a result.
Now the Steelers have listed Boswell as questionable for Week 9 and he will most likely be a coach’s game-time decision, though the thought of playing another game without a kicker can’t be all to pleasing to head coach Mike Tomlin.
He tried that last week and used 263-pound rookie punter Pressley Harvin III for kickoffs, but that backfired when at least one of them went out of bounds, a job best left for Boswell if he can manage to suit up, and if he can’t that could seriously impact this game.
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|Bears vs Steelers Information|
|What||Chicago Bears vs Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Where||Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA|
|When||Monday, November 8, 2021; 8:15 PM ET|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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