The Los Angeles Rams are 4-2 heading into week seven and prepared to take on the surprisingly 5-1 Chicago Bears. Sports Betting Dime’s points spread has the Rams favorites by 5.5 points in this contest against the Bears. While that is a little surprising, it is clear that many aren’t willing to take the Bears seriously yet. It’s hard to really blame them when you factor in the fact that the Bears haven’t played the toughest schedule by any means and were expected to be pretty bad this season. Nevertheless, Nick Foles is under center for the Bears now and the team has rallied around him and played good football. It’s worth noting that Foles is 3-0 in two starts versus the Rams organization for his career and has thrown 54/78 passes for 519 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions.
By the numbers
Points per Game: #19 Rams (25.3) > #27 Bears (21.3)
Average Scoring Margin: #10 Rams (+6.3) > #13 Bears (+2.0)
Points per Play: #18 Rams (0.395) > #25 Bears (0.329)
Touchdowns per Game: #14 Rams (3.2) > #26 Bears (2.3)
Yards per Game: #10 Rams (388.2) > #28 Bears (312.8)
Passing Yards per Game: #15 Rams (253.0) > #24 Bears (222.8)
Rushing Yards per Game: #10 Rams (135.2) > #29 Bears (90.0)
Yards per Play: #10 Rams (6.0) > #29 Bears (4.8)
Yards per Pass Attempt: #4 Rams (8.0) > #29 Bears (5.6)
Yards per Rush Attempt: #14 Rams (4.3) > #25 Bears (3.9)
Passing Attempts per Game: #6 Bears (39.7) > #28 Rams (31.7)
Rushing Attempts per Game: #6 Rams (31.3) > #29 Bears (23.3)
Plays per Game: #14 Bears (64.8) > #18 Rams (64.2)
1st Down’s per Game: #16 Rams (22.2) > #26 Bears (20.7)
3rd Down Conversions per Game: #8 Rams (6.2) > #23 Bears (4.8)
3rd Down Conversion Percentage: #9 Rams (46.84%) > #27 Bears (36.25%)
Average Time of Possession per Game: #13 Rams (30:34) > #14 Bears (30:33)
Red Zone Scoring Attempts per Game: #8 Rams (3.8) > #25 Bears (3.2)
Red Zone Touchdowns per Game: #15 Rams (2.3) > #28 Bears (1.7)
Red Zone Touchdown Percentage: #22 Rams (60.87%) > #26 Bears (52.63%)
1st Quarter Points per Game: #13 Rams (5.7) > #25 Bears (3.8)
1st Quarter Time of Possession Share Percentage: #3 Bears (60%) > #14 Rams (50.48%)
2nd Quarter Points per Game: #21 Bears (6.7) > #24 Rams (6.5)
2nd Quarter Time of Possession Share Percentage: #15 Rams (51.19%) > #23 Bears (48.09%)
3rd Quarter Points per Game: #12 Rams (5.0) > #32 Bears (1.2)
3rd Quarter Time of Possession Share Percentage: #13 Rams (52.63%) > #23 Bears (46.09%)
4th Quarter Points per Game: #5 Bears (9.7) > #14 Rams (8.2)
4th Quarter Time of Possession Share Percentage: #15 Rams (49.50%) > #16 Bears (49.48%)
Opponent Points per Game: #5 Rams (19.0) > #7 Bears (19.3)
Opponent Yards per Game: #4 Rams (318.5) > #7 Bears (337.2)
Opponent Passing Yards per Game: #4 Rams (209.5) > #11 Bears (224.2)
Opponent Rushing Yards per Game: #12 Rams (109.0) > #14 Bears (113.0)
Opponent Yards per Play: #4 Rams (5.0) > #6 Bears (5.1)
Opponent Touchdowns per Game: #1 Bears (1.5) > #4 Rams (2.2)
Opponent First Downs per Game: #9 Rams (20.8) > #11 Bears (21.3)
Opponent Third Down Conversion per Game: #4 Rams (4.3) > #9 Bears (4.7)
Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage: #1 Bears (36.36%) > #16 Rams (63.16%)
Having just digested all of the stats above, I think it’s safe to say this game is going to be a grind-it-out defensive battle. The Bears are a team that starts off slow on offense. They have only scored 70 points in the first three quarters of a game through the first six weeks. However, their fourth quarter has been lethal having scored 58 points in just that quarter this year. On the Rams side, their defense notoriously starts slow and has been absolutely lethal in the second half. One would have to think something gives in this game and the edge should go to the Rams since they outrank the Bears in nearly every statistical category. However, the Bears are 5-1 for a reason and the Rams have to keep in mind that Nick Foles’ plan is to manage the game and allow their defense enough of a lead to win it. The Rams have a legitimate offense that has looked stalled out as of late but their defense has been very impressive and that’s mainly due to their second-half performances.
Right off the bat, the Bears are a team that do not trust their running game and want to throw the football. David Montgomery leads their team with 305 yards on 82 carries and they do tend to get Cordarrelle Patterson involved with Tarik Cohen out for the year. Star wideout Allen Robinson II is the go-to-guy and will be looked at often in this game most likely. He’s 10th in the league in receiving with 474 yards and is averaging right around 10 targets per game. One would have to imagine the Rams will have Jalen Ramsey patrolling around Robinson all game long in an attempt to shut him down and take him out of the game. That wouldn’t be enough as tight end Jimmy Graham has found the end zone four times this season and the Rams secondary has had a hard time keeping tight ends out of the end zone this year. Not to mention rookie wideout Darnell Mooney has the explosiveness to be an issue as well as wideout Anthony Miller. The true X-factor in the passing game will be rookie tight end Cole Kmet who continues to see an increase in snaps as the weeks progress and is coming off a game in which he caught his first touchdown pass in the NFL.
Foles hasn’t been incredible this season by any stretch but he’s played well enough football to be leading this Bears team to a 5-0 record. On the other side of the ball, the defense coached by Chuck Pagano is still very good since Vic Fangio left for Denver. Khalil Mack is still Khalil Mack as he has five sacks this season and 29 pressures on the quarterback. Akiem Hicks has also once again been a nightmare in the trenches as he has logged 21 pressures followed by former Rams pass rusher Robert Quinn, interior defensive lineman Bilal Nichols with 11 and 10 from Roy Robertson-Harris. This team has been feisty and has gotten to the quarterback. We saw last week what this defense can do to a quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater when they start getting hits on him. Edge defender James Vaughters has had a quality season thus far as a run defender and has done a nice job at setting the edge.
The Bears pass rush has really made things easy for the back end of the defense as Kyle Fuller has been having another great season. Rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson has had his rookie moments but has overall had a solid campaign. Slot corner Buster Skrine has been okay but is definitely not a lockdown cornerback but really the safety play of Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson Sr. have been huge for this defense. Jackson is nowhere near as effective as he was in Fangio’s defense a couple of years ago but he’s still a very good player you always have to have your eye on. The linebacking group with Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith have not been the best and could be a serious weakness in this game especially with the way the Rams are running the football coming into this game.
The Rams are going to want to dominate the time of possession, they are going to want to hammer away on the running game and tire out this defense early on as they establish the run to set up the play-action pass. This is a defense that could give Jared Goff fits if the Rams are not careful which is why I’m expecting Goff to be handing it off more than not. If the Rams can run on these Bears defense they can run on anyone. Darrell Henderson Jr. is looking like one of the better backs this season and the team has Malcolm Brown and second-round pick Cam Akers to also play with. To keep the Bears off-balanced you can expect to see a lot of jet-motion from the wideouts. Will the ground game work and more importantly will it be enough? A very important thing to keep in mind is how the Rams shut down Khalil Mack last year with a rookie right tackle against him. McVay had Tyler Higbee help chip Mack all game long which gave Bobby Evans the edge. I don’t think that would be a horrible idea in this one to neutralize Mack and allow Goff pressure and peace of mind.
On the Rams defensive side of the ball, they are going to most likely focus on shutting down Robinson and company as the Bears are a clear high-volume throwing team. They are going to want to push the Bears to have to run the football with David Montgomery and they are going to likely stuff him all game long especially with the possibility A’Shawn Robinson plays in this one. The most important thing for the Rams is ball-security though. The Bears are all about forcing turnovers and flipping the field to help their weak offense. As long as the Rams take care of the football, control the clock and play their brand of football they will win this game.
I’m expecting a stereotypical slow start for the Bears offense in a not-so-stereotypical fast start for the Rams defense. I think the Rams offense bounces back in this one and scores on the opening drive from the help of Henderson. In the second half, I’m expecting a relatively tight game and a true chess match of a game between Sean McVay and Matt Nagy. I think the Rams are going to do just enough to eek one out at home against a tough matchup in the Bears by a score of 19-17. If the Bears do change anything about themselves this week and are for instance, able to run the football? This one could be a tough loss for the Rams. Assuming the Rams keep going the way they are going and the Bears keep going the way they are going, this game should favor the Rams especially at home. This is a pivotal one for the Rams who could fall to last place in the NFC West with a loss and a 49ers win against the Patriots this week.