TV Schedule: Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Stadium: Soldier Field
Weather: High 61, Low 47
Line: Chicago (-2.5)
Winning the Super Bowl doesn’t guarantee you a successful follow-up season and the Baltimore Ravens are quickly realizing that. While the Ravens are 4-5 and just two wins out of first place in the division, they have severely underperformed this season and a lot of that has to do with the struggles they have had on offense. Joe Flacco might be the reigning Super Bowl MVP, but the quarterback got paid in the offseason and has played like he has nothing to prove, passing for 2,307 yards and 12 touchdowns for the 21st-ranked scoring offense. Flacco’s favorite target has been, like everyone expected, Torrey Smith. The quick deep-threat has caught 41 passes for 753 yards and two touchdowns on the year with the next closest receiver posting just 307 yards. Ray Rice has also been a disappointment on offense, rushing for just 289 yards and three touchdowns on 2.5 yards per carry.
The Chicago Bears are coming off a tough divisional loss to the Detroit Lions that would have given them a first place standing in the NFC North. While they are still very much in the race, the Bears will be playing this week without Jay Cutler, but that’s not something to panic over because Josh McCown has been great in Cutler’s absence, passing for 538 yards and four touchdowns while throwing no interceptions and completing 60 percent of his passes. Sure they will miss Cutler’s leadership and 1,908 yards and 13 touchdowns, but a healthy quarterback is key and that showed last week. Brandon Marshall has been the top receiver, catching 60 passes for 786 yards and eight touchdowns while Alshon Jeffery isn’t too far behind, catching 47 passes for 735 yards and three scores. Matt Forte has been a force in the receiving game as well, catching 44 passes for 332 yards out of the backfield while also rushing for another 691 yards and seven scores.
Defensively, the Bears have been mediocre at best this season. While defense used to be their strong point years ago, this year’s team ranks 26th in total yards allowed, 23rd in passing yards allowed and 31st in rushing yards allowed while giving up the sixth-most points per game in the league. Baltimore ranks in the middle of the league in total yards allowed, but it excels in stopping the run, ranking 10th, and keeping teams out of the endzone, ranking eighth.
PREDICTION: Ravens 20, Bears 23