The Bears take on the Bills Sunday in Buffalo during the early slate of games. The Bears lead the all time series 7-5, but the Bills won the last matchup in 2014.
The Bears are coming off a win over the New York Jets last Sunday 24-10. In week 6, the Bears lost to the Dolphins 28-31 in overtime, and lost 31-38 to the Patriots in week 7.
The Bills are coming off a 25-6 loss to the Patriots on Monday night. In week 6, the Bills lost to the Texans 20-13, and lost 37-5 to the Colts in week 7.
Bears are 9 point favourites on the road with BetOnline, with an O/U of 37.5.
The Bears continue to win on the curtails of their defense, a hard trend to buy into in todays NFL. Mitch Trubisky was 16/29 for 220 yards and 2 TDs against the Jets, getting 119 after the catch, and struggling down the field. On passes travelling 10+ yards downfield, Trubisky was 4/10 for just 51 yards. Without his top target in Allen Robinson, Trubisky targeted Taylor Gabriel 6 times and Anthony Miller 7 times. The 2 combined for 7 catches, 89 yards, and a Miller TD. Tarik Cohen broke the game open, taking a pass in the flat 70 yards for a TD on his lone catch of the game. Cohen also rushed 5 times for 40 yards, while Jordan Howard ran 22 times for 81 yards and a TD.
The Bears were without Khalil Mack against the Jets, and it definitely showed on the field. They did not generate the same amount of pressure as the Jets did not have to gameplan around Mack’s gamewrecking capabilities. Leonard Floyd led the team with 6 pressures, but did not touch the quarterback. Slot corner Bryce Callahan had their lone sack on a designed blitz. Coverage was solid against a Jets team that lacks playmakers. Callahan was targeted 6 times, allowed just 2 catches for 23 yards, and had 3 PBUs.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
WR Allen Robinson (groin) – questionable, EDGE Khalil Mack (ankle) – questionable, G Kyle Long (foot) – out
Derek Anderson actually had the most productive game of the season from a Bills QB, throwing for 290 yards on 22/39 passing, but also threw a pick 6. However, Anderson sustained a concussion late in the game, and was replaced by Nathan Peterman. Peterman is in line to start this week with Anderson due to miss the game. LeSean McCoy was Anderson’s go to guy against New England, catching 6 balls on 8 targets for 82 yards. Zay Jones also drew 8 targets, catching 6 balls for 55 yards. The run game was shut down Monday night, as McCoy ran 12 times for 13 yards. Chris Ivory was a bit more successful, rushing 6 times for 34 yards.
Buffalo’s defense continues to be a pleasant surprise. Matt Milano has been the unquestioned MVP of the D as he tallied 7 tackles, 4 for stops, and drew 5 targets, allowing just 2 catches for 14 yards and breaking up 2 passes. Lorenzo Alexander and Jerry Hughes continue to be up and down as pass rushers, but have the capability to take over a game any given Sunday. Alexander had 2 sacks against the Patriots.
Tremaine Edmunds continues to experience growing pains as he transitions to the NFL, getting picked on as he was matched up with James White primarily. Edmunds allowed 11 catches for 129 yards last week, with 81 coming after the catch.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
QB Josh Allen (elbow) – out, QB Derek Anderson (concussion) – questionable, LB Tremaine Edmunds (concussion) – questionable
This has the potential to be a knockdown, drag out type of game. Featuring 2 of the better defenses in the league, this game comes down to which quarterback shows up. Trubisky is obviously more talented than Nathan Peterman, but can be stifled through the air. The Bills have the talent to get after opposing quarterbacks, and this will be vital against a very solid Bears O line. They cannot allow Trubisky to sit back and find open receivers. An interesting matchup will be whoever they stick on Tarik Cohen in the pass game. Cohen has gamebreaking ability, and needs to be limited if the Bills hope to keep this close.
Another chapter in the Nathan Peterman experience. Sadly, it comes against a top defensive unit. Peterman has the reckless demeanor to test the Bears secondary, but it is tough to rely on him to sustain multiple drives on his own, which is why it is important for the Bills to keep this close and not become one dimensional. In the end we think the Bills defense does enough down the stretch to allow the Bills to keep this within 9 points.
Final Pick: Bills (+9)