What: Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams
When: Sunday Night Football, November 17 at 8:20 pm ET
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California
How (TV): NBC
Latest point spread: Bears +6.5, Rams -6.5
This NFC matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Rams looked a lot better on paper when the NFL schedules came out than it does right now with both of these teams struggling just to stay relevant in the playoff picture.
The Bears are coming off a nice divisional win by a touchdown over the Detroit Lions in Week 10 while the Rams are still most likely recovering from their loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh by five points.
One of these teams is better offensively while the other rules on the defensive side of the ball, so let’s take a quick look at how they measure up against each other for their Week 11 confrontation.
For a breakdown of all teams during week 11, check out: “NFL Week 11 Power Rankings“.
The 4-5 Chicago Bears have been a bit of a disappointment because they were expected to be contenders to win the NFC North and they were supposed to easily make it to the playoffs, but poor play by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has caused this team to whither near the divisional basement.
The famed Chicago Bears defense has not lived up to his hype (where’d you go, Vic Fangio?) and even Khalil Mack seems to be coming up short, with just one sack in his last five games, so they could help the team overall with some better play.
The Bears run game is pathetic right now (ranked 5th worst in the league) so if they expect to make any kind of a playoff run at this point their rushing attack has to improve, staring with dual-threat Tarik Cohen and including David Montgomery, who is listed as questionable for this one (see below).
The 5-4 Los Angeles Rams continue to show signs of life, but they have to start winning some games if they expect to compete in the challenging NFC West, where there are two other teams (the 49ers and the Seahawks) well ahead of them at this point in the season.
The Rams’ offense has been their biggest problem this season, and head coach Sean McVay has to figure out just what kind of attack he favors, and more importantly, how running back Todd Gurley fits into it.
Quarterback Jared Goff is excellent, but the Steelers figure out that if you take receiver Cooper Kupp away from him he becomes less effective, and that ends up putting way too much pressure on the run game and the defense, problems McVay will have to quickly figure out.
These two NFC rivals have met 93 total times (including 2 postseason games), with Chicago winning 54 of those times and Los Angeles winning the other 36 games, plus 3 ties.
The last time these two teams played was last season in December when the Rams went to Chicago and lost the game 6-15 in front of an unfriendly Soldier Field crowd.
If the Bears win this matchup, they’ll move to 5-5-0 and at .500 they are still far behind in the NFC North but at least they would stand a remote chance of qualifying for an NFC Wild Card spot.
Who’s favored to win this Week 11 Bears-Rams matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Bears and the Rams next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Passing attack: The Chicago Bears have the 30th ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 181.7 yards per game through the air after ten weeks.
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is currently under center in Chicago and ranked the 26th most productive passer in the league having completed 152-of-239 passes for 1,390 yards and 8 touchdowns with 3 interceptions and a completion percentage of 63.6.
The Bears’ leading receiver after ten weeks is Allen Robinson, who is currently ranked 20th in the league among receivers with 53 catches for 618 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Rushing attack: The Bears’ rushing attack is ranked 28th in the NFL after averaging 80.6 yards on the ground per game.
David Montgomery (who is listed as questionable for Week 11, see below) is the Bears’ best runner and he is currently the 19th best in the NFL with 129 carries for 466 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns, averaging 3.6 yards per carry.
Chicago has scored 162 total points this season, or 18 per game, which is the 27th best total in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 11: running back David Montgomery (ankle), tight end Trey Burton (calf)
Injury notes: guard Kyle Long (hip) and offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings (quadriceps) have been placed on injured reserve.
Passing attack: Los Angeles has the 6th best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 279.6 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Jared Goff is the 7th most productive NFL passer after completing 214-of-355 passes for 2,610 yards and 11 touchdowns with 9 interceptions and a completion percentage of 60.3.
The Rams’ best receiver is currently Cooper Kupp, who has caught 58 passes for 792 yards with 5 touchdowns in ten weeks, ranked 6th among NFL receivers right now.
Rushing attack: Los Angeles has the 20th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 96.2 yards on the ground per game.
Todd Gurley is the Rams’ best runner and now he is the 23rd most productive in the NFL with 104 carries for 428 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
Los Angeles has scored 226 points in 2019, averaging 25.1 per game, which is currently the 10th highest scoring average in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 11: tight ends Gerald Everett (wrist) and Tyler Higbee (knee).
Injury notes: wide receiver Brandon Cooks (concussion) is listed as OUT, offensive tackle Rob Havenstein (knee) is listed as doubtful, while offensive guard Joe Noteboom (knee – ACL + MCL) and center Brian Allen (knee – MCL) have been placed on injured reserve.
The Los Angeles Rams are not only better than the Chicago Bears on offense, but they also don’t have Trubisky playing under center – two factors that will give them the offensive advantage on Sunday Night.
Pass coverage: The Bears have the 15th best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 233.3 yards through the air per game.
Chicago’s defense has 6 team interceptions and they have 25 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Bears are the 9th best NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 94.0 yards per game.
Chicago has allowed its opponents to score 157 total points, or 17.4 per game, which is the 4th least in the NFL.
One of the top tacklers in the league suits up for the Chicago Bears – inside linebacker Danny Trevathan has 70 total tackles at this point in the season (2 for a loss) and a sack, 4 quarterback hits and a forced fumble, although he is listed as questionable for Week 11 (see below).
Chicago’s biggest quarterback hunter is defensive tackle Nick Williams, who has 6.0 sacks so far, with 9 quarterback hits, a fumble recovery, 2 passes defended and 24 total tackles (5 for a loss).
Watch for Bears’ cornerback Kyler Fuller – he has 3 interceptions (T-4th most in the NFL right now), plus he has 11 passes defended and 49 total tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 11: linebacker Isaiah Irving (quadriceps).
Injury notes: linebacker Danny Trevathan (elbow) is listed as doubtful, while defensive ends Akiem Hicks (elbow) and safety Joshua Simmons (undisclosed) have been placed on injured reserve.
Pass coverage: The Rams’ defense is 17th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 240.2 yards per matchup.
Los Angeles’s defense has 6 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 26 total sacks after ten weeks.
Run coverage: The Rams are 5th best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 90.8 yards per game.
Los Angeles has allowed its opponents to score 191 total points this season, or 21.2 per matchup, which is 15th fewest in the NFL.
Rams’ inside linebacker Cory Littleton is playing at the top of this game – he has the 11th most tackles in the league right now, 78 total (for a loss), 1.5 sacks, quarterback hits, 2 interceptions, 10 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries.
Los Angeles outside linebacker Clay Mathews comes from a long line of talented NFL players, and he has 7.0 sacks so far, 8 quarterback hits, 2 forced fumbles and 22 total tackles (8 for a loss).
Floating effortlessly around the Rams’ secondary is strong safety John Johnson, who has 2 interceptions, 4 passes defended and 51 total tackles – watch for him.
Listed as questionable for Week 11: cornerback Darious Williams (ankle).
Injury notes: linebackers Bryce Hager (shoulder), Josh Carraway (Achilles), Micah Kiser (pectoral) and Justin Lawler (foot) and safety John Johnson (shoulder) have been placed on injured reserve.
Both of these defenses are solid and the Rams have Aaron Donald while the Bears have Khalil Mack, so whichever of those two have a better game on Sunday night will give their team the overall defensive advantage.
Chicago’s punter, Pat O’Donnell, has been with the Bears since the 2014 season, and this year he has punted 52 times for a net average of 41.1 yards per punt, 25th best in the NFL.
Los Angeles’ punter, Johnny Hekker, is in his ninth NFL season, fifth with the Rams, and this season he has punted 34 times for a net average of 41.3 yards per punt, which is 23rd best in the league.
Chicago’s placekicker, Eddie Pineiro, was acquired by the Bears during the offseason through a trade with the Oakland Raiders.
This season, Pineiro has made 12-of-15 field goals, his longest a 53 yarder, and so far, he has missed one extra point attempt (16/17).
Los Angeles’ placekicker, Greg Zuerlein, is in his ninth NFL season, his fifth with the Rams.
Zuerlein is 17-of-22 so far this season, his longest a 58-yarder, and he has missed zero extra point attempts (23/23).
Chicago’s punt returner, running back Tarik Cohen, is ranked T-6th in the league in return average.
Cohen has returned 22 punts for 235 yards, averaging 10.7 yards per return, his longest for 71 yards.
Los Angeles’ punt returner, wide receiver JoJo Natson, is ranked T-11th in average punt return yardage this year.
Natson has returned 15 punts for 139 yards, averaging 9.3 yards per return, his longest for 35 yards.
Looking at the numbers, both of these teams have equally effective special teams and so neither will have a particular advantage on Sunday, although having Tarik Cohen returning punts can mean anything can happen.
For the Chicago Bears to win this one, they have to figure out a way to shut down Rams running back Todd Gurley, whose on-field success seems to dictate how Los Angeles does overall, including win or lose.
Also, Mitchell Trubisky has to have a decent game, one where he maneuvers well in and outside of the pocket, where he is actually allowed to run with the ball and use his decent speed, athleticism, and quick maneuverability to get first downs and more on third downs.
The Bears will win this one because they are the more desperate of the two, and if they lose then their season is pretty much over, a fate that head coach Matt Nagy will do his best to avoid, but it may be inevitable if his franchise quarterback continues to come up short.
If the Los Angeles Rams expect to start winning, they have to go back to what works for them, and that’s handing Todd Gurley the ball early on in the game in order to set up Jared Goff’s passing attack in the second half.
It’s that play-action from under center that works for Goff and his receivers, but that can only be effective if Gurley begins to own the box upfront with his hard-hitting rush attack, something that McVay seems to be avoiding going to these days.
The Rams front line got pushed around a bit by the Steelers last week, so for Los Angeles to win, the offensive line will have to play huge and make holes for Gurley and keep Goff protected and confident enough to throw to his talented receivers for some big plays.
Los Angeles Rams by a field goal, because the Chicago Bears are not capable of winning a big game on the road right now, and the Rams are all-around better and ready for their playoff run to begin.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Bears 16, Rams 13.
My prediction for the final score is Rams 20, Bears 17.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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