Can The Bears Stop Los Angeles’ NFC Dominance?

Mack will be crucial in stopping the Rams

The Los Angeles Rams capitalised on the New Orleans Saints’ defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys to take control of the NFC Conference, although their mettle will be tested this week by the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Sean McVay’s men defeated the Detroit Lions last week, moving ahead of the Saints into the number one seed in the NFC. The Rams upped the ante in the second half to take the game away from Detroit, securing the NFC West title for the second season on the bounce.

Los Angeles will be desperate to cling on to the top seed in their remaining four games and may have to win out to accomplish the feat.

The contest against the Bears is arguably their toughest contest, although the reigning Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles are also on the agenda. Chicago should have Mitchell Trubisky restored to the line-up after the quarterback missed the last two games to injury.

Chase Daniel guided his team to victory over the Lions, only to fall to the New York Giants last week. Matt Nagy’s men need to win to get over the line in the NFC North and could make a statement with a win over the Rams.

Mack will be crucial in stopping the Rams

Chicago Bears

The Bears battled the Giants last week on the road without their starting quarterback. Daniel put forward a decent effort to lead a late comeback to level the game, which was completed when Tarik Cohen connected with Anthony Miller for a game-tying touchdown with two seconds on the clock. However, New York managed to notch a field goal before making a stand to deny the Bears in overtime.

Chicago dropped their fourth game of the campaign, but fortune was on their side in the NFC North as the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers both lost. Nagy’s men remain in control of the division and would take a step further forward to winning their first North crown since 2010 by beating the Rams.

Trubisky has been up and down over the course of the season. The Bears have missed him over the past two weeks with his shoulder injury. Daniel was solid enough, but Trubisky’s dual-threat throwing and passing the ball downfield opens up the offense. The 24-year-old has 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions to his name along with 363 rushing yards and a further three scores on the ground. He dictates the tempo of the Bears’ offense and with the mind of Nagy has been influential in bringing the club back to life after a tepid few seasons under John Fox.

Chicago’s defense has earned a lot of praise, but the focal point has been Khalil Mack. The trade to acquire Mack now looks a steal, although he has to keep performing at a high level to justify his contract. There’s more than enough talent around him to make the Bears the most dominant unit in the NFL and there will be no greater test than the Rams.

Los Angeles Rams

Fresh off their bye week, the Rams were not quite in rhythm against the Lions last time out. In their previous outing, Los Angeles had put 54 points on the board against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, it was a much more restrained effort at Ford Field, with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley doing just enough to guide their side to a two-score win on the road.

Goff had one of his worst games of the season, completing 55.5% of his passes and throwing a touchdown and an interception. Whereas the quarterback struggled, Gurley in the ground game was dominant. He rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns, suggesting that the power behind the offense flows through the running game rather than the quarterback.

As a result of their win, the Rams snatched control of the NFC Conference away from the Saints. New Orleans hold the tie-breaker between the two teams. To be sure of the number one seed Los Angeles will have to win out for the rest of the season. Therefore it’s perfect for the club that Aaron Donald is enjoyed the best campaign of his illustrious career.

He has notched six-and-half sacks in his last three matches and could well break the NFL’s record for most sacks in a season. Donald is six short of the mark now with four games remaining. The 28-year-old will be a huge factor in whether the Rams are able to secure the number one seed ahead of their rivals.

Head to Head

Games Played: 92 Chicago Bears: 56 Los Angeles Rams: 36 Tied: 3

The Bears have dominated the matchup between the sides in a long-standing rivalry going back to 1937. The teams first met when the Rams were in Cleveland, suffering a 20-2 defeat to the Bears. Chicago have been imperious over the last 12 years, winning five out of the six contests, including the last game in 2015.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was on point, throwing three touchdowns, in a 37-13 triumph when the Rams were based in St Louis at Edward Jones Dome. A lot has changed in the three years since the contest – not just the location and the men coaching the teams.

Betting Options

The Rams were not perfect last week, but managed to scrape out the win. They’re not a perfect side as their defeat to the Saints and shootout with the Chiefs proved. Given the desperation of Chicago to get over the line and the return of Trubisky, the Bears might be able to pull off a shock win on home soil. There will be further twists and turns in the battle for the number one seed and it feels as though this week could be a crucial moment in the campaign.

Back the Bears to take the win to take a crucial step forward in securing the NFC North crown at odds of +145   with TopBet. It’s also worth to take Nagy’s men on a +1 spread at odds of +130   with 888Sport given that it could be a very tight contest indeed at Soldier Field. Games featuring the Rams this term have been high scoring, back the over for a total of 51 points at -113   with BetOnline.

Tips Summary

Chicago Bears To Beat Los Angeles Rams
Sunday 9th December 2018 20:20 ET (Monday 10th December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: +145

Chicago Bears +1 Spread
Sunday 9th December 2018 20:20 ET (Monday 10th December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: +130

Over 51 Total Points To Be Scored
Sunday 9th December 2018 20:20 ET (Monday 10th December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: -113