Chicago Bears-New England Patriots predictions
The PFW Chicago staff shares its predictions for Bears-Patriots at Soldier Field on Sunday:
Hub Arkush: Patriots 34 Bears 27
This has nothing to do with the mess the Bears left on the field at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami last Sunday. They are going to play their best game of the year to arrive at this outcome.
I fear the bottom line here is that Bill Belichick and his Patriots were born to play in these kind of games and they know how to win them better than anybody in the NFL.
They are who the Bears aspire to be, and though the Chicago are off to a better start under Matt Nagy than most anyone expected, have we seen anything to suggest that Nagy is ready to out-coach Belichick, Trubisky has a chance of outplaying Tom Brady or that the Bears are ready to win a game like this?
The unfortunate answers are no, no and no, and this is the exact same thing I would have written had I done it prior to the Dolphins game.
Yes, the Bears do have a better defense than the Patriots, and they can be explosive at times on offense, but the Bears’ offense isn’t close to New England’s yet and the defense doesn’t get to play the Pats’ ‘D,’ it has to beat Brady.
I’d love to see it, but really, how likely is that to happen?
Bob LeGere: Patriots 31, Bears 24
If the Bears allowed the Dolphins, behind QB Brock Osweiler, to produce 541 yards and 31 points, one shudders to think what Tom Brady and the Patriots will do. The Bears believe what happened defensively in South Florida was an aberration, and they’re probably correct. But Brady and Co. have been functioning quite efficiently lately, and if the Bears are missing either OLB Khalil Mack (ankle) or CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), their degree of difficulty goes up exponentially.
Offensively, the Bears haven’t been a model of consistency, but in the past two games they’ve shown the ability to score points in bunches, and the Pats have some holes in their defense. They’re last in the NFL in sack percentage but eighth in interception percentage. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bears suffer a hangover following their overtime loss against Miami because it was a game they had multiple opportunities to win.
But coach Matt Nagy managed to rally the troops after a disheartening loss to the Packers in the season opener, and he should be able to do it again. That being said, it’s going to be difficult for the Bears’ still-young offense led by QB Mitch Trubisky to match points with Brady.
Arthur Arkush: Patriots 27, Bears 23
One of the tougher realities of the Bears’ Miami meltdown is that the heat on them now intensifies. There’s no soft landing awaiting Chicago with the visiting Patriots averaging more than 40 points during their current three-game winning streak.
Simply put: the Bears likely must follow up their worst defensive performance of the season with their best to have a chance at upsetting Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and it could be with Khalil Mack (ankle) and Prince Amukamara (hamstring) limited or out altogether. Even if Vic Fangio’s unit does answer the bell with a great showing, it’ll likely need to be replicated by the Bears offense.
As well as Mitch Trubisky has played over the better part of the past two games, he and Matt Nagy go from facing a defensive coordinator who just got fired in Tampa Bay to a Dolphins coordinator with 21 games of experience to the greatest head coach in NFL history.
I expect the Bears to show real mettle and give the Patriots all they can handle. But we haven’t seen Trubisky or the defense play four quarters of great football against a great opponent yet, and it’s too hard for me to envision that starting Sunday.
Eric Edholm: Patriots 34, Bears 28
I think the Bears can move the ball against this Patriots defense. Dont’a Hightower had an interception last week but not enough people are talking about how lost he looked in coverage otherwise.
This is the problem with New England’s defense: It’s not constructed currently with all their injuries to stop defenses such as the Chiefs’ or Bears’ with multiplicity and finesse. Matt Nagy should be able to scheme well against this group, and I predict a decent game from Mitch Trubisky.
But I also don’t think the Bears — perhaps with an 80-percent Khalil Mack — can slow down Tom Brady and Co. just as they’re hitting their stride. Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman will be tough covers, Sony Michel and James White are a good pair of complementary backs and TE Rob Gronkowski showed last week he can dominate a game with just three catches because of his blocking and mismatch potential. Gronk will help on Mack, I suspect, and help limit him.
Want to beat Brady? Gotta get pressure rushing four, and all the better if it’s up the A-gaps. Not sure I see that happening consistently enough on Sunday, so the Patriots will be one score better.
Last week’s results:
Hub Arkush: 0-1
Bob LeGere: 0-1
Arthur Arkush: 0-1
Eric Edholm: 0-1
Hub Arkush: 4-1
Bob LeGere: 4-1
Arthur Arkush: 4-1
Eric Edholm: 4-1